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El Obispo Presidente sobre el tiroteo en la iglesia de Texas

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:47am

“Ofrezco esta oración por aquellos que han muerto, por aquellos que están sufriendo, por aquellos que todavía están sanando de las heridas físicas y de las cicatrices emocionales, espirituales y mentales”, declaró el Obispo Presidente de la Iglesia Episcopal y Primado Michael B. Curry después del tiroteo del 5 de noviembre en la Primera Iglesia Bautista, Sutherland Springs, Texas. “Oramos por los que sufren y por los que han muerto. ¿Rezarás conmigo?”

El Obispo presidente Curry ofreció sus comentarios durante una visita a la Iglesia Episcopal Escocesa en Aberdeen, Escocia. He aquí los comentarios:

Estoy en Aberdeen, Escocia, donde anoche tuvimos un servicio en la Catedral de San Andrés, dándole gracias a Dios por las profundas raíces de la Iglesia Episcopal aquí en la Iglesia Episcopal Escocesa. La Iglesia Episcopal Escocesa es en verdad la iglesia madre de la Iglesia Episcopal, y damos gracias por los lazos que nos unen.

Pero incluso cuando dimos las gracias la noche anterior, recibimos noticias de que en Sutherland Springs, Texas, un pistolero ingresó a la Primera Iglesia Bautista, y ahora unas 26 personas han muerto y muchos más están heridos y afligidos. Ofrezco esta oración por aquellos que han muerto, por aquellos que están sufriendo, por aquellos que todavía están sanando de las heridas físicas y de las cicatrices emocionales, espirituales y mentales. Mientras rezo, los invito a orar la oración que el Señor nos enseñó. Los invito a que oren para que se haga la voluntad de Dios, para que Dios nos guíe a encontrar una mejor manera, a encontrar pasos concretos para que este tipo de cosas ya no suceda. Pero, sobre todo, rezamos por los que sufren y por los que han muerto. ¿Rezarás conmigo?

Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo,
santificado sea tu nombre,
venga tu reino,
hágase tu voluntad,
en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día,
y perdónanos nuestras ofensas,
como también nosotros perdonamos

a los que nos ofenden.
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
y líbranos del mal.
Porque tuyo es el reino,
el poder y la gloria,
por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.

El Señor te bendiga y te guarde. El Señor haga resplandecer su rostro sobre ti y sea misericordioso contigo. Que el Señor haga brillar la luz de su semblante sobre ti y nos dé su paz en este día y para siempre. Amén.

El Reverendísimo Michael B. Curry
Obispo Presidente y Primado
Iglesia Episcopal

Live social media coverage of Episcopal delegation at COP23

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 10:41am

Episcopalians from across the church are heading to Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd United Nations climate change conference, where they hope to continue the advocacy begun at the past two gatherings.

Officially known as the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Nov. 6-17 conference is an annual intergovernmental meeting to focus on global dialogue and action.

Presiding Bishop speaks on Texas church shooting

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 8:47am

 

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scar,” Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry stated following the Nov. 5 shooting at the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. “We pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?”

Curry offered his comments during a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. The text follows:

“I’m in Aberdeen, Scotland, where last night we had a service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, giving God thanks for the deep roots of the Episcopal Church here in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is indeed the mother church of the Episcopal Church, and we give thanks for the ties that bind us together.

“But even as we gave thanks last evening, we received word that in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a gunman entered the First Baptist Church, and now some 26 people have been killed and many more wounded and afflicted. I offer this prayer for those who have died, for those who are suffering, for those who are still healing from physical wounds, and the emotional, spiritual and mental scars. As I pray and invite you to pray the prayer the Lord taught us. I invite you to pray that God’s will might be done, that God might guide us to find a better way, to find concrete steps so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. But above all, we pray for those who suffer and for those who have died. Will you pray with me?

“Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give us all his peace this day and forevermore. Amen.”

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Liturgical texts published for 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which traditionally takes place in the northern hemisphere each January, has been prepared by the churches of the Caribbean.  The annual event usually takes place between the feast of St. Peter on Jan. 18 and the feast of St. Paul on Jan. 25. Some southern hemisphere countries hold the week on a different date to avoid January holidays.

Read the entire article here.

Ugandan Mothers’ Union leader helps overcome HIV

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A lay Anglican woman in Uganda is helping to build an HIV-competent community and church in a country where the epidemic is still a big challenge. Josephine Kasaato is president of the Mothers’ Union in the Namirembe Diocese in the capital of Uganda, Kampala. She is using her position to create awareness and educate the community about HIV and AIDS. Her voice is often heard across the diocese’s 65 parishes where she censures stigma, discrimination and denial – key challenges in the struggle against the virus.

Read the entire article here.

Anglican and Lutheran leaders speak out against niqab ban

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 2:42pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican bishops of Montreal and Quebec have joined the bishop of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to speak out against a new law that bans the wearing of the niqab – the Islamic face covering – in the province of Quebec from people delivering or receiving a public service. Bill 62 was passed by the Quebec National Assembly in October and is described as “an act to foster adherence to state religious neutrality.”

Read the entire article here.

Episcopalians say faith and fitness can unite to strengthen spiritual and physical muscles

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 1:48pm

Yoga students learn the crescent pose, as well as receive the Eucharist at YogaMass, an idea created by the Rev. Gena Davis and run with Rev. John K. Graham, in Houston, Texas and beyond. Photo: Jonathan Dow/YogaMass

[Episcopal News Service] Something happened when the Rev. Gena Davis balanced on one leg for tree pose and reached her arms skyward while squatting for chair pose in yoga class. Something transformational.

“It starts as a physical practice, and it can move into a spiritual practice. And that’s when the real question comes: What is this, and how can I make sense of this as a priest?” said Davis, who was vicar of Grace Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, at the time. She did her yoga teacher training then, too.

“In church, some people feel they’re worshipping in their head. This is a way to bring the body into worship. We totally recognize the mind-body-spirit connection. They’re integrated. It’s really a movement toward wholeness.”

Many Episcopalians are recognizing that Christians and other spiritual seekers often need a more holistic approach to practicing their faith, fellowship and worship.

Fitness is one way. Faith and fitness can go hand in hand in many types of exercise, be it mediation while running, taking a boot camp class or practicing yoga.

Davis’ personal yoga practice inspired her to co-create YogaMass, which incorporates the Eucharist. Partnering with the Rev. John K. Graham, president and CEO of the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center and interim priest at Grace Church, she received approval from Texas Bishop Andy Doyle to create a liturgy for the YogaMass. The yoga worship services began in January 2016.

Davis leads the yoga flow; she and Graham take turns sharing the gospel; they both celebrate Eucharist; and sometimes they have someone else lead the meditation portion. While the ritual and practice started at Grace Church, they now move to different locations throughout Houston, and have plans for spots in California. Davis wants to share this experience with as many people in as many places as possible.

(Left to right) Cyrus Wirls on dgembe drum and Stuart Nelson on sitar play music while the Rev. John K. Graham and the Rev. Gena Davis lead the class up front near the altar during YogaMass. Davis started the program in 2016, at Grace Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, and now takes it across the area, as well as California, to spread awareness of its fusion of ancient yoga practices and Christian principles. Davis and others provide classes that also act as a worship and meditation service. Photo: Jonathan Dow/YogaMass

She wrote a book, “YogaMass: Embodying Christ Consciousness,” published by Balboa Press in April, detailing how yoga’s ancient principles are complementary with Christian values. The book’s first line, “This is my body,” is what Davis says every time she celebrates the Eucharist.

“As Episcopalians, we know those are the words Jesus spoke on his last night. Those are Eucharistic words. Those are our words as faithful Christians, and to bring it home and say it yourself, that brings up all sorts of possibility for exploration,” Davis said. “I think that’s too powerful to pass up. We can’t ignore the body. It’s our way of experiencing life.”

Practicing yoga has opened up Christianity for Davis. It’s a perspective that’s deepened her faith. The practice can broaden the boundaries as well. People in their 20s have told her they’re not comfortable in traditional church settings, but they still want to worship. YogaMass is their answer.

“There’s this huge fitness craze out there. I see people get on their mats and feel so good, but what they’re longing for is that connection with other people, and the Divine, and that’s God. Sometimes they can’t name that,” Davis said.

 Fitness as outreach

Drawing people from the community who might not otherwise go to church is a big motivator for churches to host fitness classes.

“Big churches in the Baby Boomer generation saw their fitness centers as a type of YMCA, a tremendous outreach,” said the Rev. Hillary Raining, who teaches yoga at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. “Taking care of your body is a Christian value. Paul tells us our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; and I don’t think you’d leave your church temple in disarray.”

 

 

People seeking martial arts might find themselves at St. Thomas in New Windsor, New York. The Hudson Valley church has a tai-chi-wushu kung fu fusion fitness class on Saturdays through mid-December.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, has a Parish Life Center open to parishioners and the community. The center offers sports, group-fitness classes, personal training, an indoor track, basketball court, weight machines, recovery groups, small-group meetings, neighborhood gatherings and dinners. Today’s group fitness classes include tai chi, yoga, Pilates, post-pregnancy classes, mother-and-child stroller fitness and a diverse fitness adventure-oriented class.

It’s basically a free gym behind the church connected by a covered driveway, operated with Christian values that anyone can use, as long as they follow the rules of conduct, said Marietta Haaga, director of recreation. Of course, donations are accepted.

Parishioners raised the money to build the center in 1999, as a recreation outreach ministry. Some instructors start off their classes with prayer. “Keeping people on track, physically, mentally and spiritually is what we’re about,” said Haaga, who is also a personal trainer. “Really, our philosophy and ministry is to make sure people stay healthy in mind, soul and body.”

Providing a place for people to exercise in a good, clean, safe and Christian environment accomplishes that goal. Sometimes people tell Haaga they went to a church service because they heard about it at the Parish Life Center. The center also offers speakers, health fairs and blood drives.

Fitness as worship

You don’t have to tell Paige Lollis that faith and fitness can be intertwined. She was the catalyst of such a combination at her church, St. Philips Episcopal Church in Frisco, Texas. It began when Lollis took Pilates with Christi Price, a certified instructor and fellow woman of faith. They transformed their private Pilates session into a worship workout, incorporating faith-based music and scripture.

The Faith and Fitness ministry at St. Philips Episcopal Church in Frisco, Texas, offers Pilates and Holy Yoga classes, a program begun by church member Paige Lollis. Photo: Christi Price

Lollis liked it so much, she talked to Kelley Prahl, then the church’s director of adult discipleship. They started offering six-class sessions of yoga every season. Bible verses are read and Christian music is played in each class. This past season, they added Holy Yoga taught by Maureen Beville, an instructor certified in the gospel-centered yoga with its own training certification.

“When you come to church, you meet God on your pew, whereas with this, you meet God on your mat,” Lollis said. “Instead of the instructor telling you to lift your hands to the ceiling, it’s raising your hands to the Lord. We’re very intentional. We want to center our minds on the Word of God and integrate it into our muscle memory.”

Class fees range from $10 to $15, and a portion of proceeds go to a charitable organization, most recently, the Redeemed Women ministry.

Stevi McCoy, the church’s director of community life, loves taking the Pilates class. “This is another way to worship; we’re trying to offer the biggest selection of ways to worship and fellowship and grow as disciples,” McCoy said.

“I feel like any other kind of exercise classes focuses on you; in these classes, you focus on God. That’s the biggest difference. You have thanksgiving for your life.”

Fitness as meditation

In Gladwyne, Raining teaches an ancient type of yoga called ashtanga at her Pennsylvania church. The free classes are twice a week and available to all members of the community. She starts class with a meditation that blends Christian and yoga principles, gives a mini sermon, instructs students in their yoga poses and closes with a meditation.

“What I found in yoga is a beautiful blend of inward change that has an outward catalyst,” Raining said.

Yoga instructor and spiritual leader Amy Dolan and the Rev. Hillary Raining, who teaches yoga at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, are co-authoring a book, “Faith with a Twist: A 30 Day Yoga Journey.” Photo: HillaryRaining.com

Other kinds of exercise can be meditative too. The priest loves to run and hike. She usually listens to music, but she can decide to spend 10 minutes of that time as a meditation by setting the playlist to hymns. As a Lenten discipline, she once fasted from listening to music while running and listened to the silence instead.

“Yoga has the advantage because it’s built into the aura of the practice. But any fitness practice done with intention can bring you closer to God,” Raining said.

With fellow yoga instructor and spiritual leader Amy Dolan, Raining is also writing a book, “Faith with a Twist: A 30 Day Yoga Journey,” which she hopes to offer at the 79th General Convention in July in Austin, Texas. She’s also in the process of building a woman’s spiritual and wellness website, called The Hive.

You don’t have to be scared that you’re following Buddhism or Hinduism when practicing yoga, these Christian yoga teachers say. The parallels are a natural fit. For example, yoga’s drishti technique uses a specific gazing direction for the eyes to control attention, according to Yoga Journal.

It’s a Sanskrit term for your focal gazing point, which helps you concentrate, stay balanced and go deeper into the posture.

“If your eyes are on something moving, you will fall down,” Raining said. “I think that’s a really Christian thing to think too: Whatever you’re keeping your gaze on that’s true and holy, not the temptations and distractions, when your gaze is focused on Christ, that’s where you’re heading. I can practice it on my mat, and I can practice it in my life.”

— Amy Sowder is a special correspondent for the Episcopal News Service and a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn. She can be reached at amysowderepiscopalnews@gmail.com.

Episcopal climate-talks delegation plans to continue church’s advocacy

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:16pm

 

 

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians from across the church are heading to Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd United Nations climate change conference, where they hope to continue the advocacy begun at the past two gatherings.

Officially known as the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Nov. 6-17 conference is an annual intergovernmental meeting to focus on global dialogue and action around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Fiji is presiding over COP23 in Bonn with the support of the German government. More information on COP23 can be found here.

Previous meetings have produced the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement, which serves as the basis for standards on climate action and lowering carbon emissions.

Appointed by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the 11-member COP23 delegation will share Episcopal Church resolutions on climate change and information about the church and its ministries centered on ecojustice. Led by Diocese California Bishop Marc Andrus, the delegation will offer a spiritual presence through daily interfaith prayer and worship, and by encouraging active churchwide participation by Episcopalians through virtual participation and social media.

“Our goals are to build on the work done at previous conferences by urging member states to implement the Paris Agreement and pay particular attention to developing nations and the poor,” said the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, in a press release.

Robertson said the delegation also hopes to “network within the accredited and public zones of the conference to spread the word about what the Episcopal Church is doing on climate issues.”

In addition, the delegation hopes its efforts will “raise awareness across the Episcopal Church of the importance of engaging on climate change as Christians,” according to Robertson, and “digitally engage Episcopalians in that work.”

This event marks the third Episcopal delegation to attend a COP meeting. A delegation attended COP21 in Paris in 2015, advocating for an agreement aligning with General Convention resolutions related to climate change. In 2016, a delegation traveled to Marrakesh, Morocco, for COP22, which focused on implementing the Paris Agreement and birthed the “We’re Still In [the Paris Agreement]” movement.

The Paris Agreement, which went into effect Nov. 4, 2016, calls on the countries of the world to limit carbon emissions, which will require a decrease in dependence on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources; and for developed countries, those responsible for the majority of emissions both historically and today, to commit to $100 billion in development aid annually by 2020 to developing countries.

The agreement, which is a legally binding agreement, established specific actions and targets for reducing greenhouse gases emissions, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, and financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries. Signatory countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and to make strong efforts to keep the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Bonn meeting takes place against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s oft-repeated promise to fulfill his campaign vow to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement and curb the country’s commitment to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. According to the agreement’s rule, the United States cannot actually withdraw until 2020.

He claimed in his initial June 1 announcement that the pact was bad for the U.S. economy but said he might be open to renegotiating its terms to be more “pro-American.” That conditional approach has continued.

Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) September 16, 2017

Trump has called human-caused climate change a “hoax” and the concept of global warming a Chinese plot.

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

The New York Times reported Nov. 2 that the Trump administration will promote coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change at a presentation in Bonn.

How to join the delegation’s participation

  • Follow the delegation via its website, via Twitter (#EpiscopalClimate @EpiscoClimate) and on Facebook.
  • Pray for climate action.
  • Share parish or faith community activities on climate action here.
  • Send prayer requests, personal poems or prayers for consideration at the interfaith service in Bonn here.
  • Check out these resources offered as by the church’s Office of Government Relations.

Delegation

The delegation brings together a range of environmental, liturgical and churchwide experience in their representation of the presiding bishop.

The members of the Episcopal Church delegation with accredited observer status are: the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California; Jack Cobb, domestic and environmental policy advisor, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations; and Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations.

Observer status allows each of these team members the ability to brief U.N. representatives on General Convention climate resolutions and to attend a variety of meetings in the official zone. Additionally, Andrus has been invited to address the inaugural UN meeting of the “We’re Still In [the Paris Agreement]” movement.

Other team members tasked with monitoring U.N. negotiations and networking are:

  • Sheila Andrus, ecological entomologist and science manager based in the Episcopal Diocese of California
  • The Rev. Andrew Barnett, associate for music and worship at the Washington National Cathedral and environmental scholar
  • Michael Coffey, an atmospheric scientist and professor at the University of the South, Sewanee
  • Nathan Empsall, Episcopal Church Global Partnerships/UN intern and communications specialist, and Yale Divinity School seminarian
  • Perry Hodgkins Jones, writer and member of the Episcopal Church Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation
  • The Rev. Melanie Mullen, Episcopal Church director for reconciliation, justice and creation care
  • Tom Poynor, Episcopal Church chaplain, University of California-Berkeley and scholar in theology and the arts, Diocese of California
  • Bill Slocumb, director of Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers and member of the Episcopal Communicators

For more information contact Lynnaia Main at lmain@episcopalchurch.org.

Episcopal News Service presenta nuevo sitio web

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:39am

[Oficina de Relaciones Públicas de la Iglesia Episcopal] Episcopal News Service (ENS), el galardonado servicio de noticias de la Iglesia Episcopal, acaba de inaugurar una nueva y avanzada página web en  www.episcopalnewsservice.org.

Visualmente atractiva, fácil de manejar y adaptada a dispositivos móviles, la nueva página web fue diseñada para mejorar la experiencia integral del usuario, crear conciencia del servicio de noticias y generar ulterior interés y participación en los ministerios transformadores de la Iglesia Episcopal.

ENS ofrece reportajes y análisis en profundidad de noticias locales, regionales, nacionales e internacionales para los episcopales y otras personas interesadas en la misión y ministerio de la Iglesia. Al ofrecer cobertura por escrito y en medios de difusión múltiples, es la fuente de noticias digital auspiciada oficialmente por la Iglesia Episcopal.

“ENS seguirá priorizando el reportaje sobre temas de justicia social, e inspirando a las personas a actuar, participar y conectarse para promover cambios significativos en el mundo”, apuntó la Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg,  jefa de redacción interina de ENS. “ENS también proseguirá su confiable cobertura de la constante labor de la Iglesia a través de sus órganos de gobierno y sus prioridades de misión”.

Entre las muchas nuevas características y mejoras que ampliarán la experiencia del usuario se cuentan: contenido de noticias organizado en menor número de secciones con énfasis en temas y tópicos y una avanzada función de búsqueda.

Episcopal News Service es un ministerio periodístico bien establecido que es fundamental en la evangelización digital y en informar a los episcopales y a otras personas  acerca de cómo la Iglesia Episcopal vive en el Movimiento de Jesús y hace realidad el evangelio en el mundo”, apuntaba Matt Davies, encargado de la publicidad y administrador del servicio digital. “Con nuestro receptivo sitio web y nuestro continuo énfasis editorial en los problemas de justicia social, el equipo de ENS cree que ha fusionado ingredientes esenciales para satisfacer el apetito de activismo y participación sociales, y esperamos despertar el gusto de una nueva generación de activistas que anhelan hacer suya la fórmula por el cambio global”.

Elementos clave de www.episcopalnewsservice.org

  • El nuevo sitio web ENS incorpora las populares secciones de anuncios de empleos [Jobs & Calls], eventos [Events], libros [Books], comunicados de prensa [Press Releases] y artículos noticiosos sobre personas.
  • ENS sigue alentando a las diócesis y congregaciones a presentar artículos noticiosos sobre ministerios locales y acontecimientos importantes en la vida de la Iglesia. Las normas de presentación de artículos a ENS se encuentran aquí.
  • Se seguirán ofreciendo oportunidades de patrocinio y publicidad a agencias y organizaciones relacionadas con la Iglesia que deseen dar a conocer sus ministerios, servicios, eventos, marcas y productos.

Más información sobre oportunidades en ENS se pueden obtenerse de Davies en mdavies@episcopalchurch.org.

Para presentar información

ENS ofrece las siguientes vías para compartir sus noticias.

  • Para presentar un comunicado de prensa para su inclusión en Episcopal News Service, haga clic aquí.
  • Para publicar una nota sobre personas (por ejemplo, un nuevo cargo, una ordenación, un premio o un honor), haga clic aquí.
  • Para publicar un listado de empleo o de llamado, haga clic aquí.
  • Para publicar un listado de eventos, haga clic aquí.
  • Para publicar un listado de libros, haga clic aquí.

Historic Anglican-Oriental Orthodox agreement on the Holy Spirit signed in Dublin

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 3:52pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Theologians from the Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches have signed an historic agreement on the Holy Spirit. The Agreed Statement on the Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit was signed on Oct. 27, the end of a week of discussions by the Anglican Oriental-Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC) and concludes two years of work on the subject.

Read the entire article here.

Episcopal News Service launches new website

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 2:30pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal News Service (ENS), the award-winning news service of the Episcopal Church, has launched a leading-edge new website at  www.episcopalnewsservice.org.

Visually appealing, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly, the new ENS website was designed to improve the overall user experience, raise awareness of the news service and generate further interest and engagement in the life-changing ministries of the Episcopal Church.

ENS offers in-depth reporting and analysis of local, regional, national and international news for Episcopalians and others interested in the church’s mission and ministry. Providing written and multimedia coverage, it is the officially sponsored online news source of the Episcopal Church.

“ENS will continue to place an emphasis on reporting about issues of social justice, and inspiring people to act, engage and connect to make a difference in the world,” noted the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg,  ENS interim managing editor. “ENS will also continue its reliable coverage of the ongoing work of the church through its governance and mission priorities.”

Among the many new features and improvements that will enhance the user experience are: news content organized in fewer sections with an emphasis on issues and topics and an advanced search function.

“The Episcopal News Service is a long-standing ministry of storytelling that is pivotal in digital evangelism and informing Episcopalians and others about how the Episcopal Church lives into the Jesus Movement and lives out the gospel in the world,” noted Matt Davies, ENS advertising and web manager. “With our new responsive website and our continued editorial emphasis on issues of social justice, the ENS team believes it has blended together crucial ingredients to satisfy the hunger for advocacy and engagement, and hopefully ignite the palates of a new generation of activists who long to add to the recipe for global change.”

Key elements of www.episcopalnewsservice.org

  • New ENS website incorporates the popular reader-generated sections for advertising Jobs & Calls, Events, Books, Press Releases and People news items.
  • ENS continues to encourage dioceses and congregations to submit news stories about local ministries and important developments in the life of the church. The ENS submission guidelines are available here.
  • Opportunities for sponsorship and publicity will continue to be offered to church-related agencies and organizations wishing to raise awareness of their ministries, services, events, brands and products.

Further information about opportunities on ENS is available from Davies at mdavies@episcopalchurch.org.

Submitting information

ENS offers the following ways to share your news.

  • To submit a press release for inclusion on the Episcopal News Service, click here.
  • To publish a People news item (e.g. a new position, ordination, award or honor), click here.
  • To publish a Job or Call listing, click here.
  • To publish an Event listing, click here.
  • To publish a Book listing, click here.

Church of England bishops to remain in reformed House of Lords

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:54pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The 26 Church of England bishops with places in the upper house of the United Kingdom’s Parliament will retain their places under new plans to reform the House of Lords. Bishops have been part of England’s governance since absolute rule by monarchs in the days long before the emergence of democracy in the country. Today the House of Lords includes the archbishops of Canterbury and York, the bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, and 21 other diocesan bishops by seniority of service. For a short transitional period, women in the episcopate take precedence over male colleagues in filling vacancies in the 21 other bishops.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop Welby’s comment leads to development of African solar project

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:52pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A comment made by the archbishop of Canterbury during his visit to the Holy Land in April has resulted in a pioneering green energy project for churches in Africa. During his two-week visit, Archbishop Justin Welby met Rabbi Yonatan Neril, the founder and executive director of the Jerusalem-based NGO, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD). Welby heard about ICSD’s collaborative project with the social enterprise Gigawatt Global (GWG) to deploy solar fields on church lands in Africa. In Rwanda, GWG installed Africa’s first commercial-scale solar field on land belonging to the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village for orphans from the genocide. Welby suggested that Neril contact the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), which gives a significant priority to environmental action.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop of Cape Town says ‘the ANC’s time may have passed’

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:47pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Time may be coming to an end for the “glorious movement” of the ANC, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said in an outspoken attack during a discussion on the Power98 radio program “Power Talk.” The ANC – the African National Congress – has its roots in the anti-Apartheid struggle. It was the party of Nelson Mandela and has formed the government in South Africa since the end of Apartheid.

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In this hour of our testing: New York bishop writes to diocese after terror attack

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:32am

[Episcopal Diocese of New York] 

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

The news of what appears to have been a terror-related attack in Lower Manhattan comes to me as Bishop Glasspool and I are continuing our visit to Bishop Chilongani in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. How difficult it is to be away from our city when it is in crisis!

I join with all in our diocese, all people of faith, and all our city in mourning the lives lost and the chaos visited upon our own streets. I know that opportunities for prayer are already being planned for tomorrow and following days. I urge you to go and be with one another, and pray with one another, and turn a common face toward the God who is balm for weary and broken hearts.

I know that in every church the victims of this violence will be remembered in prayer today, tomorrow and at our Sunday liturgies. Pray also for our country, and for God’s guidance for our leaders. Pray for peace. Pray for understanding across religions, cultures and political philosophies. And pray for ourselves, that we may guard our hearts, that we may by the grace of God respond to hatred with love, and violence with peace.

Once again it is crucial that we do not extrapolate from the violence committed by one man to condemn or blame the larger Islamic community, or to view all Muslims as dangerous. Faithful, peaceful Muslims are as bereaved and angry about these killings as anyone else in our city, and we know the Islamic community to be our friends.

Now is the time when we who follow a God of peace, across our several religions, must stand together against all forces of destruction. Indeed, the love of peace and the renunciation of the evil powers which corrupt and destroy are contained within the heart of our baptismal life. That is who we are.

I long to return to you, and pray for you every one in this hour of our testing. And always I remain 

Yours,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche

Bishop of New York

Episcopalians invoke values in range of anti-hunger efforts, from soup kitchens to global aid

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 4:41pm

Guests and volunteers pray together during one of the free breakfasts offered by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, one of range of anti-hunger ministries involving the Episcopal Church at all levels. Photo: Sara Bates/St. Luke’s

[Episcopal News Service] In Christianity, food is inseparable from faith. It underlies a wide spectrum of the Bible’s teachings and Christian traditions, from individual fasting to Jesus’ Last Supper and the celebration of the Eucharist. The faith journey is a path from hunger to fullness.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled,” Jesus says in Luke 6:21.

But Jesus’ followers also were called to give to the poor, providing physical food along with Jesus’ spiritual food. Defining that mission, let alone fulfilling it, can be difficult, and churches and believers have wrestled since Jesus’ time with the question of how to best address the problem of hunger. Today, physical hunger remains a persistent scourge around the world, including in countries of great wealth like the United States.

‘Food and Faith’

Episcopal News Service kicks off a five-part series on anti-hunger efforts in the Episcopal Church. Future stories will focus on food pantries, a soup kitchen, a food truck and the church’s advocacy on government programs that fight hunger. Part 2 will post Nov. 6.

Hope remains, too. Episcopal News Service found it in a homeless outreach program in Seattle, Washington, in a food truck ministry in Houston, Texas, and in a New York City soup kitchen. Those and other examples of faith-based solutions to the problem of hunger form the heart of the “Food and Faith” series this November, in which ENS tells the stories of various anti-hunger efforts underway in all corners of the Episcopal Church.

The need is well documented. More than 41.2 million Americans and 12 percent of households are deemed food insecure because they lack access to enough food to maintain active and healthy lives, according to Feeding America’s most recent “Poverty and Hunger Fact Sheet.” And hunger is not solely a problem of poverty. More than half of all food-insecure Americans live in households above the poverty line.

Nor is hunger a sudden emergency for many households. It can be an unforgiving, intractable fact of daily life.

“For a lot of people that live below or close to the poverty line, they’re left wondering where their next meal is going to come from,” said Catherine Davis, chief marketing and communication officer for Feeding America, which distributes food through its member food banks to faith-based and secular food pantries across the country.

The Episcopal Church emphasizes anti-hunger efforts at all levels. Congregations everywhere operate food pantries and meal ministries to assist the needy, one canned good or bowl of soup at a time. There’s Grace Food Pantry in Madison, Wisconsin, distributing food to needy guests for 38 years. There’s Abundant Harvest, a relatively new Episcopal food truck ministry in the Houston area that is part of a congregation aimed at finding communion around the dinner table.

Volunteers Clare Manthey and John Mitchell prepare to serve St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s daily free breakfast through the Edible Hope Kitchen ministry. Photo: Sara Bates/St. Luke’s

For ministries like these, the goal is to do more than put food in needy mouths.

“It’s a witness to our community and our neighborhood of what it means to live a Christian life,” said Sara Bates, coordinator of the Edible Hope Kitchen at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, which serves free breakfast every weekday to hundreds of homeless residents of its Ballard neighborhood.

The fight against hunger isn’t just local. Money donated to Episcopal Relief & Development supports programs fighting famine overseas in places like South Sudan. Churchwide advocacy campaigns seek to influence U.S. policy on hunger relief in ways that reflect Christian values through the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations.

In May, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry joined “For Such a Time as This,” an ecumenical campaign of prayer, advocacy and fasting, timed to the 21st of each month during the current Congress to highlight the difference government programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps, can make in the lives of people struggling with hunger.

Curry told Episcopal News Service the church was following in Jesus’ footsteps by feeding both the body and soul.

“Jesus fed 5,000 people with physical, tangible bread because they were hungry.  At the same time, he fed their souls by teaching them the Gospel way,” Curry said. “Sacraments, the word of God, worship, bible study, prayer groups, feed the soul. Soup kitchens, food pantries, ecumenical and interfaith food shuttles, community gardens, feed the body. In these ways, we seek to end hunger … hunger of the body and hunger of the soul.”

Biblical roots for feeding ministries

Jesus also alludes to this duality in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled,” he says in Matthew 5:1-12.

The Greek word for righteousness was the same as the word for justice, noted the Rev. Jane Patterson, associate professor of the New Testament at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. How the ancient world understood hunger and fasting, though, was different from how we understand it today.

“Most people in the ancient word were hungry most of the time,” Patterson told ENS, and the prophets made the moral case for feeding the hungry.

The idea of Jesus as the “good shepherd” has roots in Ezekiel 34, Patterson said. God asks the shepherds why they feed themselves but don’t care of the flock. God pledges to tend to his sheep, the Israelites, and “provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.”

References to abundance and scarcity continue through the New Testament. The words “hunger” and “hungry” are found 19 times in the Gospels. “Eat” appears several dozen more times. In Mark 11:12-14, Jesus is hungry but finds no figs on the fig tree, so he condemns the tree to wither. The prodigal son in Luke 15 is so hungry he covets the pigs’ food, “but no one gave him anything.” And in Matthew 6:25, Jesus says, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. … Is not life more than food?”

For the disciples, Jesus shared his Last Supper in a time of uncertainty and with a great injustice about to happen, Patterson said. It is recounted today before every Eucharist because of how Jesus joined the meal to his coming sacrifice, offering himself as bread and wine.

“Food is so basic to life,” Patterson said, but spiritual needs are just as essential. There often is little distinction between the two in the Bible. “People who are hungry need real food, and they also need spiritual sustenance.”

One of the best-known gospel stories involving food is the one cited by Curry, the feeding of the 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish as recounted in all four gospels. That miracle is followed by Jesus’ teaching about “the bread of life.”

“Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty,” he says in John 6:35.

Jesus’ disciples “needed to be taught as much as they needed the bread,” Patterson said. She also emphasizes the communal nature of the miracle. Jesus is not said to have multiplied the loaves and fish. The miracle is that all who gathered are fed from what little food was available, and no one lacks food for giving to those in need.

“In God’s economy, it’s never zero sum,” she said.

Giving much, lacking nothing

The Rev. Melanie Mullen, the Episcopal Church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care, looks to Proverbs 28 for inspiration in the fight against hunger: “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing.”

Mullen oversees Jubilee Ministries and the United Thank Offering, two programs in which the Episcopal Church provides substantial financial support for antipoverty efforts. Jubilee Ministries focuses specifically on poverty through its network of 600 Jubilee centers, which provide a range of services, including food, shelter and health care.

United Thank Offering, or UTO, collects donations from individuals across the Episcopal Church and distributes the money to a wide variety of worthy ministries, many of them feeding ministries.

More than $1.2 million in UTO grants was awarded this year. Recipients included a farm run by the Diocese of Ohio, a church garden in Connecticut and food ministries in central California. Food ministries regularly benefit from UTO grants, such as the $12,500 given in 2016 to support this garden at St. James Episcopal Church in Kent, Washington.

The Episcopal Church can lead from a position of moral clarity based on Jesus’ teachings, Mullen said.

“When we help the poor we’re not just doing charity work, we’re living as Jesus did,” she said.

The Episcopal Church, through the Anglican Communion, also can leverage a worldwide network of believers willing to give their money, supporting strangers who need help putting meals on the table. Episcopal Relief & Development plays a leading role in those efforts on behalf of the Episcopal Church.

Alleviating hunger is a core area of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work, with an emphasis on community-based programs. “These locally developed programs address the specific context of hunger and have a wider impact on the health and economic well-being of the community,” the agency’s website says. “Working with church partners and local organizations, we empower people to live healthier and more productive lives.”

Episcopal Relief & Development was able to spend $6.9 million on food security in 2015 and nearly $4 million in 2016, according to the agency’s annual reports, with help from Episcopalians who have been financially generous through the years.

There also are seemingly limitless examples of Episcopalians working in their own communities to help next-door neighbors put food on the table.

The food ministry at St. Luke’s in Seattle started about 30 years ago as a weekly community lunch, the labor of love of the church’s Bible study group. More recently it also has helped save the congregation, which was struggling after a major split over gay ordination.

In 2011, the church lost an estimated 80 percent of its members in the split, leaving attendance at worship services as low as a dozen people some Sundays, Bates said. Among those who stayed were the older women who hosted the church’s food ministry, and they were determined to keep it going.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington, where a daily free breakfast is served to hundreds of people each week, has seen a rise in homelessness in its Ballard neighborhood. Photo: Sara Bates/St. Luke’s

By that time, the meal had become a breakfast served five days a week, as the group noticed more and more homeless people in the neighborhood but with no feeding programs in the morning. As the meals became more and more popular, they took on the name Edible Hope Kitchen a couple years ago based on the suggestion of one of their regular guests.

“He said, ‘You guys don’t just serve food here. You serve edible hope,’” Bates recalled.

She began working at the church as an intern in 2015, soon after a new vicar arrived and began injecting new life into the congregation. Bates, 33, now works 20 hours a week as the church’s paid coordinator of Edible Hope Kitchen, partly thanks to the $22,000 UTO grant St. Luke’s received this year.

St. Luke’s gets most of its food from donations or at a reduced cost from the Feeding America-affiliated food bank in Seattle. The UTO grant will also help the church upgrade equipment in its kitchen. Buying a new bread slicer, for example, is a big improvement, because Edible Hope offers unlimited slices of toast from loaves that often are not precut.

The goal is to be able to feed up to 250 people from 7 to 10 a.m. each weekday by this winter. That means a lot of toast. The church also goes through at least six dozen eggs a day, sometimes as many as 14 dozen. Four to 10 volunteers prep the meals the night before, and about a dozen people help each morning by setting up the meal, serving it and then cleaning up.

“Honestly, it shouldn’t be possible to do all that we do with what we have. It’s truly miraculous,” Bates said.

The meals have helped connect two groups in the neighborhood – the homeless and the affluent – that otherwise may find little reason to interact. Bates also thinks the food ministry is one of the reasons new people are finding the congregation and becoming members, especially young people and families. Edible Hope Kitchen offers a way for them to be active in their faith, she said, noting that Sunday attendance at St. Luke’s now is sometimes as high as 80 people.

“It’s not always convenient to have 200 homeless people on our property. It’s not always clean and comfortable, and yet we want to be a place where all of our neighbors feel welcome and comfortable,” Bates said. “We feel very, very called to feed our hungry neighbors.”

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

Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Reformed and Anglicans ‘drawn into deeper communion’

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 4:22pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An agreement between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches, which settled one of the historic disagreements at the centre of the Reformation, was the focus of a special service at Westminster Abbey on Oct. 31. On this day 500 years ago, Martin Luther kickstarted the Reformation by posting his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church – the Schlosskirche – in Wittenberg, Germany. Central to his argument was the theological principle that man can be reconciled to God – justification – through faith alone, rather than through good works, penance or the buying of indulgences.

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Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Reformed and Anglicans ‘drawn into deeper communion’

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 4:03pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An agreement between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches, which settled one of the historic disagreements at the centre of the Reformation, was the focus of a special service at Westminster Abbey on Oct. 31. On this day 500 years ago, Martin Luther kickstarted the Reformation by posting his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church – the Schlosskirche – in Wittenberg, Germany. Central to his argument was the theological principle that man can be reconciled to God – justification – through faith alone, rather than through good works, penance or the buying of indulgences.

Read the entire article here.

Anglican Communion appoints director for theological education

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 4:00pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The vice principal of St. Hild College in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, the Rev. Stephen Spencer, has been appointed as director for theological education in the Anglican Communion. Spencer will work to build up companionship links between theological colleges and courses in the Global North and the Global South. “There are resources and inspiration which can be shared in both directions, for the benefit of all,” he said, “and the director will need to be a kind of matchmaker facilitating this.”

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Anglican Communion appoints director for theological education

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 3:59pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The vice principal of St. Hild College in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, the Rev. Stephen Spencer, has been appointed as director for theological education in the Anglican Communion. Spencer will work to build up companionship links between theological colleges and courses in the Global North and the Global South. “There are resources and inspiration which can be shared in both directions, for the benefit of all,” he said, “and the director will need to be a kind of matchmaker facilitating this.”

Read the entire article here.

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