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Norman Tendis honored at launch of WCC economic and ecological justice resource

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 1:04pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A resource rooted to the congregation level of churches’ engagement in ecological and economic justice was launched during a public event at the World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva yesterday on March 12. The publication is the fruit of a long work led by Pastor Norman Tendis, WCC consultant for economy of life, who was one of the victims of the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Read the full article here.

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Praise service celebrates Irish hymn writer Cecil Frances Alexander on the 200th anniversary of her birth

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 12:58pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The 200th anniversary of the birth of Anglican hymn writer Cecil Frances Alexander was celebrated with a themed praise evening in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on March 10. During her lifetime, she wrote almost 400 popular hymns, including “All Things Bright and Beautiful”; “There Is a Green Hill Far Away”; “Once in Royal David’s City”; and, I bind unto myself today “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate.”

Read the full article here.

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Ecumenical leader Robina Winbush dies

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 12:36pm

Robina Winbush (left) attended an ecumenical breakfast at the 223rd General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri, with co-moderators, Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and Rev. Cindy Kohlmann. Photo: Contributed to PC USA

[The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)] Ecumenical and interfaith groups across the world are mourning the passing of the Rev. Robina Winbush. The director of Ecumenical Relations in the Presbyterian Church USA’s Office of the General Assembly died on March 12 while returning from a 10-day visit to the Middle East. She was deplaning in New York when she collapsed at the airport.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Winbush received her education from Kent State and Harvard universities as well as Union Theological Seminary in New York.  She began her ministry at the Presbyterian Church USA more than 30 years ago when the church opened its offices in Louisville, Kentucky. She served in an ecumenical role in Global Missions before taking a pastorate in Queens, New York.

Read the full article here.

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House of Bishops opens spring meeting with exploration of the Way of Love

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 5:01pm

[Episcopal News Service – Hendersonville, North Carolina] The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has begun a four-day deep dive into the Way of Love, which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls a rule of life for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

Curry explained to the house that the idea for the Way of Love, an intentional commitment to follow Jesus and adopt a set of practices, including turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest, grew out of a meeting of a group of bishops, clergy and laypeople he called together to consider how to help Episcopalians keep Jesus at the center of their lives and at the center of the church.

The question, he said, is how to live in such a way that, “when folk look at Episcopalians, they no longer see those that we celebrated for their power and their glory, but they see those who celebrate the glory and the grandeur and the goodness of God. How do we make that happen?”

The presiding bishop said the Way of Love was a return to Christianity’s roots. “We didn’t make anything new,” he said. “We went back to the treasure chest.”

Curry said he was struck by the way his sermon at the Royal Wedding last May was received. He insisted that he didn’t say anything new during his time in the pulpit in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. “What shocked me was that sermon was news because to represent Christianity as a way of love was actually not just good news, it was new news in Western culture,” he said.

He called that reality a “mission opportunity for us.” He said that it is now countercultural to have “a way of being Christian that looks like the face of Jesus of Nazareth and reflects his way of love, but that is countercultural, to be quite honest.”

The presiding bishop bemoaned the fact that most opinion polls of younger people report that they see Christianity as “narrow minded, fundamentalist-ic, homophobic and bigoted.” He said that “the public face of Christianity in the United States has been hijacked. There is no sense that there is a diversity of expressions among Christians,” but instead more and more the public image is “the image of a right-wing political agenda.”

The presiding bishop insisted that he is not talking about a liberal and a conservative stance. “This is about following Jesus, not anybody’s political party,” he said.

More about the Way of Love and resources for exploring it are here.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said during his sermon in the Kanuga chapel that the church must return to its roots in the “ultimate inclusiveness” of Jesus. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

During his sermon at the opening Eucharist earlier in the day, Curry invoked what he called the “heritage” of Jesus at the Last Supper and what E. Franklin Frazier called the “underground church” of slaves in the United States. The church, Curry said, must get back to its rootedness in Jesus so that it can preach the good news of salvation to all. The slaves went to church on Sunday morning with their masters, but their underground church represented “the Christian movement for them, and it is out of this movement, this Jesus movement, that they realized that this Jesus holds the key to set the captive free, and he holds the key to set the slave master free,” he said.

It was “the ultimate inclusivity,” Curry said.

Retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris listens March 12 to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preach during the opening Eucharist for the four-day spring meeting of The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, held at Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“What was true for Jesus at the Last Supper and what was true for those slaves in the antebellum cotton and tobacco fields may well be true for us even in our time as The Episcopal Church,” he said.

Curry told the story of a discovery that the congregation of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Baltimore made after its building was struck by lightning. During restoration of the church, where Curry served from 1988 to 2000, an urban archeologist discovered, below a number of layers, a mural of a multibranched vine painted on the original surface of the floor.

“It may be that underneath the layers that have been added over the centuries – layers of establishment, layers of being the first church, layers of having the finest citizens, layers of endowments, layers of comfort and convenience – it may be that underneath it all, there is a very simple vine and branches. ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Abide in me, and I in you,’” Curry said. “And no matter how bad your demographics look, no matter how tough the cultural circumstances, no matter who is in the White House, ‘I am the vine. Those who abide in me will bear much fruit.’”

Also on the meeting’s agenda

The House of Bishops is meeting March 12-15 at Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center outside Hendersonville, North Carolina.

The bishops will begin each day with Eucharist and center the day’s work on a theme about the Way of Love. The themes including Engaging the Way of Love, Deep in the Way of Love, Resourcing for the Way of Love and Integrating the Way of Love. The March 12 work will be aided by African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the denomination’s first woman bishop, and Church of England Bishop Ric Thorpe, a church planter who is now the bishop of Islington.

The gathering is the group’s annual spring meeting. The bishops normally meet each spring and fall of non-General Convention years.

The bishops will close their week at Kanuga with a business meeting the afternoon of March 15.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

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El Camino Real chooses a five-person slate for its next bishop

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 4:47pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Diocese of El Camino Real Standing Committee announced March 12 a slate of five candidates for the fourth bishop of the diocese.

They are:

The Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Idaho;

The Rev. Deon Johnson, rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brighton, Michigan;

The Rev. Janine Schenone, rector, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, San Diego, California;

The Rev. Channing Smith, rector, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church and School, Saratoga, California; and

The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, canon to the ordinary and chief of staff, Diocese of Fort Worth.

Their biographies and Q&A answers are here. Each candidate will submit a brief video introducing themselves, which will be posted to the website in the next few weeks, according to the announcement.

The electing convention will be June 1.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves announced on March 15, 2018, that she would call for the election of her successor. The new bishop will be ordained and consecrated on January 11, 2020, during Gray-Reeves’ 13th year as bishop.

A seven-day petition period is currently open, during which additional candidates may come forward. The petition forms and the requirements are available here. Completed petitions and backup material must be submitted no later than March 16 by midnight PST. Anyone considering being a petitioner is asked to notify the President of the Standing Committee the Rev. Shelley Denney immediately at shelley@eca-sj.org, even before filing paperwork, so that background checks may begin as soon as possible, the announcement said.

“Walkabouts” will be held the week of May 4-11.

The candidates have been asked to refrain from coming into the diocese as guest preachers, retreat leaders, workshop presenters or in other capacities, according to the announcement. Episcopalians in the diocese were told to not contact the candidates or ask them questions.

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Jennifer A. Reddall consecrated as bishop of Arizona

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 4:44pm

Arizona Bishop Jennifer A. Reddall was ordained and consecrated on March 9. Photo: David Schacher Photography, LLC

[Diocese of Arizona] The Rev. Jennifer A. Reddall was ordained and consecrated as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Arizona at 11 a.m. on  March 9 at Church for the Nations in Phoenix. More than 1,400 people attended the historic service, as Reddall became the first woman bishop in the diocese’s 58 year history. More than 1,000 people have viewed the video of the service, which was originally live-streamed. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry led the service as chief consecrator. The Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church in New York City, was the preacher.

In addition to a traditional choir with 90 choristers from churches around the diocese, music included Native American drumming and singing, a South Sudanese choir, a Spanish choir and a Mariachi band. Following the service, a celebratory reception was held in the courtyard at the church.

The consecration service may be viewed on the diocesan YouTube channel.

On Sunday, April. 7, 2019, the newly-consecrated bishop will be formally welcomed and “seated” at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix at a 5 p.m. service.

Reddall was elected at the Diocesan Convention on Oct. 20, 2018, on the first ballot. Prior to election, she was the rector of Church of the Epiphany in New York, New York, a position she held since 2014. Reddall grew up in California, and after graduating from Yale University with a degree in theater studies, she joined the Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the General Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master of Divinity degree in 2002. Reddall has one son, Nathan. Her parents moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 2016. She is in a long-term relationship with Paul Sheehan, who lives primarily in Hong Kong.

Reddall succeeded the Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, who had served as the fifth bishop of the diocese for 15 years.

The Diocese of Arizona was established in 1959, and has approximately 20,000 members in 12,500 households in more than 60 congregations.

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Episcopalians, Methodists ponder full-communion proposal after UMC vote

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 4:03pm

The Rev. Bill Mudge (right) comforts fellow delegate Jeffrey “J.J.” Warren of the Upper New York Conference after Warren spoke in favor of full inclusion for LGBTQ persons in the life of the United Methodist Church during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference Feb. 25 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The United Methodist Church’s recent decision to reinforce its opposition to same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy has not sidetracked pending consideration of a full-communion agreement between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church.

Rather, the controversial decision has put dialogue between the two churches in a kind of prayerful pause while both denominations discern the vote’s impact and the Methodist church awaits a denominational ruling on the constitutionality of some parts of the decision.

“At this moment, we are in the same place that we were six months ago, except that we are deep in prayer for their situation,” the Rev. Margaret Rose, ecumenical and interreligious deputy to The Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, told Episcopal News Service.

Six months ago, the United Methodist-Episcopal dialogue committee made final edits to the full-communion proposal, “A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers in the Healing of Brokenness,” that was first released in May 2017.

The dialogue committee is due to gather again in a previously scheduled meeting April 29 in Austin, Texas, during which, Rose said, Episcopalians “will hear directly from those who have been deeply involved in this work and are saddened by the decision.”

On Feb. 26, the United Methodist Church’s 2019 Special Session of General Conference approved, by a vote of 438-384, a “Traditional Plan,” which did not change the UMC’s position on the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the denomination but hardened some of the its current policies. For instance, it set a minimum penalty of one year’s suspension without pay for clergy performing a same-sex wedding for the first offense, and loss of credentials for the second, according to UM News Service. And the plan reinforced the church’s existing prohibition on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

The delegates rejected plans that would have either eliminated all restrictions on same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy in the denomination’s Book of Discipline or left such decisions up to individual geographic entities known as conferences.

The Special Session also approved a disaffiliation plan, sometimes called an “exit plan.” It would allow congregations to leave the denomination with their property, with limitations, “for reasons of conscience” regarding issues of human sexuality. The plan’s provisions would stand in contrast to The Episcopal Church’s canonical and legal stance that local property is held in trust for the entire denomination and thus cannot be retained when a majority of a congregation and its leaders decide to leave.

Florida delegates Rachael Sumner (front left) and the Rev. Jacqueline Leveron (front right) of the Florida Conference join in prayer with bishops and other delegates at the front of the stage before a key vote on church policies about homosexuality during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News Service

The UMC Judicial Council will rule on the constitutionality of some of the provisions related to the Traditional Plan when it meets in Evanston, Illinois, April 23-25.

Deirdre Good, the Episcopal co-chair of the dialogue committee, told ENS via email, “We are all praying for, and staying in touch with our UMC sisters and brothers whilst we wait specifically for what the Judicial Council will say.”

Bishop Gregory Palmer, resident bishop of the United Methodist Church’s Ohio West Area and co-chair of the dialogue committee, noted in an interview with ENS that the Judicial Council has ruled that some portions of the Traditional Plan are constitutional. They include an “augmented” definition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual” and the minimum penalties provision for clergy performing a same-sex wedding.

Even if the council decides that the provisions on which the General Conference asked for a ruling are unconstitutional, Palmer said, “it won’t undo the other parts, at least in a technical sense; whether or not it will make their impact less is an unknown, but it won’t take them off of the books.” However, the next General Conference in Minneapolis May 5-15, 2020, could make such a decision, he said.

As it stands now, the legislation is not the official church law until Jan. 1, 2020, for churches in the United States. It takes effect in churches outside the U.S. after the 2020 General Conference, according to a UMC report.

The two items on the April 23-26 docket of the #UMC's top court deal with the constitutionality questions related to the Traditional Plan and an exit plan approved by #GC2019. https://t.co/EihKLTy9h2 pic.twitter.com/4yixpeB7mx

— UM News Service (@UMNS) March 12, 2019

The current timeline calls for the UMC to consider the full-communion proposal at that same 2020 meeting and for The Episcopal Church’s General Convention to do likewise in 2021. The work that led to the proposal began in 2002 after General Convention authorized the conversation in 2000. Under Interim Eucharistic Sharing guidelines established by General Convention in 2006, Episcopal congregations can hold joint celebrations of the Eucharist with United Methodist churches.

The Episcopal Church defines “full communion” to mean “a relation between distinct churches in which each recognizes the other as a catholic and apostolic church holding the essentials of the Christian faith.” The churches “become interdependent while remaining autonomous,” the church has said. Such agreements are not mergers, and Rose said, they are “permissive, not proscriptive,” meaning no part of either church is required to do the things that the agreement would allow.

Meanwhile, Palmer said he plans to “move full steam ahead” with the proposed agreement “across the table with our Episcopal colleagues” and within the Methodist Council of Bishops. “The basic outlines of the full-communion proposal are still essentially the same, even though many voices, including many Episcopalians, had hoped that we might become more inclusive in terms of who could be clergy and what clergy could do,” including being in a same-sex marriage or performing them for others, he said.

Palmer is due to present the proposal to the Council of Bishops this May. He said he will urge them not to slow down the agreement’s timeline. Some might suggest a pause, he said, adding that it will be important to discern if the hesitancy stems from the human sexuality stances of the two churches or, for example, from questions some bishops have always had about the sacramental differences between Episcopalians and Methodists.

“I do think we have to be honest with each other and then we have to be discrete, meaning we have to have some way of separating the bone from the marrow,” he said.

The executive committee of the #UMC in Germany says stipulations in the Traditional Plan "unacceptable," and the German church will not impose the stricter penalties in the plan. https://t.co/ViY32bh6jL pic.twitter.com/DiO0QmBLv5

— UM News Service (@UMNS) March 12, 2019

The two churches’ theologies of Holy Communion differ in matters of emphasis, according to an explanation by the dialogue committee here. Both Episcopalians and Methodists believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. Episcopalians officially offer the Eucharist to all baptized Christians, whereas Methodists do not require a person to be baptized. Episcopalians typically have Eucharist at least every Sunday, while some United Methodist churches celebrate Communion weekly and others do so less often. Episcopalians consecrate wine while Methodists use grape juice.

And, of course, there is the sacramental difference over marriage. The Rev. Kyle R. Tau, the UMC Council of Bishops’ ecumenical staff officer, told ENS that he thinks the dialogue committee will need “to take an honest look at the implications of the General Conference’s decision for both of our communions, and what it might mean for the timing and process related to the full-communion agreement. We remain committed to working together, to staying in dialogue and to moving the goal of unity forward in whatever way we can.”

The Rev. Robert Williams, retired after 35 years as a Methodist pastor, is a member of the dialogue committee, and he told ENS that “the only thing that would be safe to say is nobody can predict what may be ahead.”

Williams, who lives in Ocean City, New Jersey, had preferred that his church choose the path of inclusivity toward LGBTQ members, but as part of the full-communion committee, his focus is on keeping that process moving forward.

Williams raised the possibility that the process could succumb to reservations, on both sides, about forging closer ties between denominations seemingly at odds on issues of sexuality. And though he was reluctant to comment on speculation that the United Methodist Church could split over those issues, a schism could add confusion to full-communion talks.

“The question then becomes, who is The Episcopal Church in dialogue with?” he said.

That said, the outcome for the Methodists is far from settled, and Williams still sees room for hope.

“The hope always is that people can disagree on issues such as this without them becoming church-dividing issues,” he said.

United Methodist Bishop Robert Hoshibata meets with protestors upset about the passage of the Traditional Plan, which affirms the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex weddings. The vote came on Feb. 26, the last day of the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/UM News Service

Two Episcopal priests, both with a history of ecumenical work, have recently written blog posts calling for prayer and a measured response from Episcopalians. The Rev. Thomas Ferguson, a member of the dialogue committee, urged his readers, “Let’s not forget the mote in our own eyes as Episcopalians.”

“We have dioceses which do not fully incorporate LGBT persons in the life of the church, and same-sex marriages rites are still not openly available to all. We still have significant gender disparity in leadership. We are part of a global communion which is mostly opposed to full inclusion of LGBT persons,” he wrote.

Ferguson, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandwich, Massachusetts, hopes that everyone involved “can see where God is calling people to new and different ways of being church: that we who sow now in tears may reap with songs of joy.”

The short answer in the blog post “How to Deal with Methodists at your Red Church Doors” by the Rev. David Simmons, rector of St. Mathias Episcopal Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was: “Don’t be a jerk.”

“Our first reaction doesn’t need to be to look at them as a new source of recruitment for The Episcopal Church,” Simmons said in a phone interview with ENS. Some Methodists may no longer feel at home in their own church, he added, but most will still identify as Methodists even if they come looking for a temporary spiritual home elsewhere.

“I think the most important thing, for one, is to understand that the United Methodist Church is very diverse and governed in a different way than ours is,” Simmons said. He figures Methodists include at least as many LGBTQ clergy and laypeople as The Episcopal Church, and they “are fighting for their church. They’re wanting to stay. … That’s what’s at stake.”

Simmons serves as president of Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers and, in that capacity, has assisted the dialogue committee.

He doesn’t think the Methodists’ vote derails full-communion talks, especially given how much the two denominations have in common on the fundamentals of their Christian faith. The vote, however, could push Methodists into such an intense debate over sexuality that the dialogue on full communion simply gets pushed to the sidelines.

What the Methodists did and did not do, and how they decided

Two other aspects of the UMC vote are important to note. First, LGBTQ people have not been banned from the United Methodist Church, the UM News Service said in an explainer article after the vote. However, since the 1972 General Conference, the UMC has said that while all people are of sacred worth, “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” according to UM News reports.

The United Methodist Church’s current statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ persons in the 2016 Book of Discipline are here.

Second, UMC polity is very different from that of The Episcopal Church. The United Methodist Church’s General Conference is an international body of nearly 1,000 delegates that generally meets every four years. Delegates are elected by annual conferences and represent all annual conferences around the world. No such body exists in The Episcopal Church, even though General Convention has deputies and bishops from outside the United States. To replicate something resembling the General Conference, representatives of every Anglican Communion province would have to be empowered to gather and set policy for all the churches.

Half of the General Conference delegates are laity, half are clergy. Bishops attend the General Conference but cannot vote. Some bishops serve as presiding officers, but other bishops cannot speak unless permission is specifically granted by the delegates.

Delegates are proportionately distributed among annual conferences by applying a statistical formula based on the number of clergy and professing lay members of each conference. About 40 percent of the 862 delegates for the 2019 Special Session came from outside the United States, according to figures here. Statistics on the 2020 delegates, which show roughly the same pattern, are here.

And, the vote was not monolithic among all U.S. Methodist delegates. The Rev. Joe DiPaolo, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is part of the Wesleyan Covenant Association that successfully championed the Traditional Plan.

“I think I will lose some folks who are more progressive,” DiPaolo told UM News Service. He issued a statement about the General Conference and held a church meeting to discuss the outcome. “Things are kind of raw,” he said.

While many Korean #UMC clergy support the Traditional Plan adopted by General Conference, some expressed concerns with the plan and disappointment over treatment of LGBTQ community. https://t.co/jySXBWRFnJ pic.twitter.com/LG8qIR7uF3

— UM News Service (@UMNS) March 12, 2019

The Rev. Grace Oh of Englewood-Rust United Methodist Church in Chicago has supported the Traditional Plan but not schism.

“I feel relieved after the General Conference adopted the Traditional Plan,” she told UM News Service. “Now I am going to focus on what I have been doing as a pastor. I will love my church and people of God.”

Michael McDowell, 21, a junior at Rice University who is planning a career in United Methodist ministry, said he had mixed feelings about the vote.

“I’m pretty conservative theologically, and a lot of young United Methodists are a lot more conservative theologically than the general discussion about them seems to be. … I’m glad the church voted to stick with their theological guns.”

But McDowell said he worries “that this pretty much means that the church is going to split.”

Young United Methodists have differing views on whether the Traditional Plan, adopted by the special General Conference, is the best way forward for the denomination. https://t.co/wYdcQkvjHP #UMC #UMCGC #GC2019 pic.twitter.com/oRzoj0y67S

— UM News Service (@UMNS) March 5, 2019

What full communion with the UMC would look like

There are 12.5 million Methodists worldwide, with just more than half of them in the United States. The Episcopal Church has nearly 1.9 million members and is a province of the Anglican Communion, which has 85 million members in 165 countries.

The Episcopal-Methodist full-communion proposal outlines agreements on the understanding of each order of ministry. The ministries of laypeople, deacons, Episcopal priests and United Methodist elders would all be seen as interchangeable yet governed by the “standards and polity of each church.”

Both churches have somewhat similar understandings of bishops, according to the proposal.

“We affirm the ministry of bishops in The United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church to be adaptations of the historic episcopate to the needs and concerns of the post-[American] Revolutionary missional context,” it says. “We recognize the ministries of our bishops as fully valid and authentic.”

The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church would pledge that future consecrations of bishops would include participation and laying on of hands by at least three bishops drawn from each other’s church and from the full-communion partners they hold in common: the Moravian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Episcopal Church currently is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, India; Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht; the Philippine Independent Church; the Church of Sweden; and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. It is also engaged in formal bilateral talks with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Roman Catholic Church via the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter. David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

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Prayers after man shot and killed outside Anglican church in Mississauga, Ontario

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:17pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A territorial dispute between rival biker gangs appears to have been behind a fatal shooting outside an Anglican Church in Mississauga, Ontario. Paramedics and heavily armed police were deployed to the scene after reports of gunfire at 11:20 a.m. Eastern time on March 11. A 32-year-old man was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries. “Today very close to our home someone lost his life due to tragic and senseless gun violence,” the St John the Baptist Anglican Church – known as Dixie – said on its Facebook page. “We pray for the victim, and also for his family as they come to terms with his demise.”

Read the full article here.

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Queen Elizabeth attends Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Senior members of Britain’s royal family, led by Queen Elizabeth II, attended the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11. The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states, all of whom were represented at the service. The Commonwealth traces its origins to the former British Empire and much of its territory is mirrored by the Anglican Communion. Clergy and faith leaders from across the Commonwealth were present and active during the service.

Read the full article here.

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WCC environment specialist among 157 killed in Ethiopian Airlines’ crash

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 1:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An environment expert employed by the World Council of Churches, Norman Tendis, was amongst 157 people who were killed on March 10 when an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after take-off. Flight ET302 came down near Tulu Fara near Bishoftu, southeast of Bole International Airport from which it had taken off six minutes earlier. Aviation authorities around the world are grounding flights of the same Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner following the crash – the second involving the same Boeing model since it came into service in 2017.

Read the full article here.

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Linda Chisholm, Anglican educational network founder, honored with distinguished fellowship

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 2:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service]The founder of the official Anglican Communion network Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, Linda Chisholm, has been awarded the organization’s third distinguished fellowship. The network brings together further and higher education institutions from across the Anglican Communion. It was launched in Canterbury Cathedral in 1993, with Chisholm as its first general secretary. The honorary Distinguished Fellowship of the Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion is awarded to “individuals who model exceptional and active service to Anglican higher education globally.”

Read the full article here.

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Fereimi Cama ordained and installed as bishop of Polynesia and primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 2:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The first Fijian chosen to lead the Diocese of Polynesia in its 110-year history, Fereimi Cama, was consecrated and installed on March 10. In addition to being bishop of the diocese he is now also one of three equal-status archbishops and primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. Around 2,000 people were at Suva’s Holy Trinity Cathedral to witness his ordination as the seventh bishop of Polynesia and his consequent recognition as archbishop.

Read the full article here.

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La Iglesia cubana celebra 110 años y su ultimo sínodo antes de reintegrarse a la Iglesia Episcopal

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 11:32am

Clérigos de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba e invitados se reúnen fuera de la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad en La Habana, el 3 de marzo, luego de la eucaristía de clausura del 110º. Sínodo General. Lynette Wilson/ ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – La Habana, Cuba] La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba celebró recientemente sus 110 años de historia durante su último sínodo como una diócesis autónoma antes de su reintegración oficial con la Iglesia Episcopal de EE.UU. en 2020.

“Durante 50 años la Iglesia Episcopal ha estado aislada”, dijo la obispa de Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio, en la clausura del Sínodo General , que se celebró del 28 de febrero al 3 de marzo en la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad. La Reintegración, dijo ella, “es una manera de ser parte de una gran familia”.

El firme liderazgo de Delgado impulsó la reintegración, dijo el arzobispo Fred Hiltz de la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá, que preside el Consejo Metropolitano de Cuba. El Consejo ha supervisado la Iglesia cubana desde su separación de la Iglesia Episcopal a fines de la década del 60.

“Quiero expresarlo todo al decir que ella es una visionaria, una trabajadora tenaz”, dijo Hiltz, en una entrevista con Episcopal News Service. “Ella hará cualquier cosa para promover el interés, el bienestar y la capacidad de recursos en apoyo  del ministerio de esta Iglesia.  Ella es constante, ella persevera, y no siempre le ha resultado fácil.

La obispa de Cuba Griselda Delgado del Carpio y el arzobispo Fred Hiltz de la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá fuera de la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad en La Habana, después de la eucaristía de apertura del 110º. Sínodo General el 28 de febrero. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

“No todo el mundo estaba entusiasmado con la idea de volver a la Iglesia Episcopal, pero ella persistió constantemente, se empeñó con el clero, con el laicado. Yo la observé preparándose para el sínodo especial del año pasado que decidiría a qué provincia habrían de pertenecer, y la manera cuidadosa en que ella se ocupó de que hubiera un diálogo en todo el ámbito de la Iglesia aquí en Cuba. [Los delegados] vinieron al sínodo con una decisión tomada y eso en un inmenso crédito para su estilo de liderazgo, organizado y focalizado, espiritualmente centrado”.

La Diócesis de Cuba está previsto que se incorpore a la II Provincia, que incluye las diócesis de Nueva York y Nueva Jersey en Estados Unidos, la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa, Haití y las Islas Vírgenes.

La reintegración de la Iglesia cubana a la Iglesia Episcopal fue uno de los muchos temas que se debatieron durante el sínodo, el cual reunió a clérigos y laicos de todas partes de la isla.

“Estamos en verdad muy felices de recibir de nuevo a la Iglesia de Cuba en la Iglesia Episcopal; hay tanto que podemos aprender de su acercamiento creativo al ministerio y la misión”, dijo el Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el ministerio fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal.

El 10 de julio de 2018, la Cámara de Obispos aprobó por unanimidad, con el respaldo de la Cámara de Diputados,  readmitir a la Iglesia cubana como una diócesis [de la Iglesia Episcopal]. Las decisiones de la 79ª. Convención General aceleraron el proceso de reintegración  que se pusiera en marcha por primera vez hace cuatro años.

En marzo de 2015, dos meses después de que Estados Unidos y Cuba convinieran en restablecer relaciones diplomáticas luego de una ruptura de 54 años, el sínodo de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba aprobó con 39 votos a favor y 33 en contra regresar a su anterior afiliación con la Iglesia Episcopal. Ese verano, la 78ª. Convención General se pronunció a favor de relaciones más estrechas con la Iglesia cubana y por un levantamiento del embargo económico de Estados Unidos contra Cuba que ha estado en vigor durante varias décadas.

La obispa de Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, preside la procesión de salida el 28 de febrero luego de la eucaristía de apertura del 110º. Sínodo General de la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba remonta sus orígenes a una presencia anglicana en la isla en 1871. En 1901, se convirtió en distrito misionero de la Iglesia Episcopal. Las dos iglesias se separaron en los años sesenta [del pasado siglo],  después de que Fidel Castro tomará el poder al triunfo de la evolución cubana de 1959 y de que las relaciones diplomáticas entre los dos países se desintegraran. La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba ha funcionado como una diócesis autónoma de la Comunión Anglicana bajo la autoridad del Consejo Metropolitano de Cuba desde la separación en 1967. Los primados de las iglesias anglicanas del Canadá y las Antillas Británicas (West Indies) y de la Iglesia Episcopal integran el Consejo Metropolitano.

Este sínodo será la última vez que Hiltz, que ha presidido el Consejo Metropolitano durante 12 años y que está a punto de jubilarse este año,  asistiría.

“Es un poco emotivo para mí este sínodo, es mi último sínodo aquí como primado del Canadá y presidente del Consejo Metropolitano”, dijo él.

“Es una mezcla de emociones, gran alegría de que las cosas hayan llegado tan lejos. Me habría sentido realmente en una posición embarazosa si al terminar mi período como presidente del Consejo Metropolitano las cosas no hubieran llegado tan lejos en lo que se refiere a la reintegración”, dijo Hiltz. “Ha sido realmente estupendo observar el desenvolvimiento de ese proceso desde que comenzó en 2015. Estoy realmente feliz de ver que llega a su culminación y pensar que en el sínodo del año próximo vuestro Obispo Primado estará aquí, porque ellos a veces se refieren a mí como su primado. Y supongo que para todos los efectos y propósitos, yo lo he sido”.

El Rdo. John Kafwanka, director para la misión de la Comunión Anglicana, hizo una presentación acerca de la importancia de adiestrar a los cristianos para el ministerio en sus vidas diarias. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

Pendiente de la armonización de las constituciones y cánones de la [Iglesia] cubana y de la Iglesia Episcopal de EE.UU. y de la aprobación del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal en marzo próximo, la Diócesis de Cuba celebrará su primera convención junto con una celebración y visita del obispo primado Michael Curry.

“Estamos profundamente agradecidos al arzobispo Hiltz, al Consejo Metropolitano (de Cuba) y a la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá por sus años de fiel compañerismo y apoyo a la Iglesia en Cuba”, dijo Robertson.

Delgado fue instalada en noviembre de 2010. Antes de eso, el obispo Miguel Tamayo, de la Iglesia Anglicana del Uruguay, prestó servicios como obispo interino durante seis años, dividiendo su tiempo entre Montevideo y La Habana. Obispos de Puerto Rico y la República Dominicana también han desempeñado ese papel, tanto Puerto Rico como la República Dominicana son diócesis de la IX Provincia de la Iglesia Episcopal.

El 27 de febrero, la Iglesia Episcopal dio a conocer una campaña para recaudar fondos de pensiones para clérigos activos y jubilados. El salario promedio de un sacerdote en Cuba es de $55 al mes; el gobierno cubano no reconoce la actividad religiosa como un empleo, lo cual hace que los clérigos no tengan derecho a pensiones o a seguridad social del Estado. A lo largo de los últimos 50 años, los clérigos han tenido que prescindir de sus pensiones . El establecimiento de un sistema de pensiones les brinda alguna seguridad a clérigos que ahora pueden contar con la Iglesia en su ancianidad, explicó Delgado.

El Rdo. Charles Robertson, canónigo del Obispo Primado para el ministerio fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal, hizo una presentación el 2 de marzo sobre los próximos pasos a seguir en el proceso de reintegración durante el 110º. Sínodo General. Foto de Lynette Wilson/ENS.

La Iglesia cubana tiene 23 clérigos que atienden a 10.000 episcopales en 46 congregaciones y misiones a través de la isla. En el momento del anuncio oficial, la Iglesia Episcopal ya había recaudado más de la mitad de la suma objetivo de $800.000. El dinero, que será administrado por el Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia, viene a compensar la ausencia de contribuciones durante la separación y a remediar una injusticia.

“Esto es parte de la obra de reconciliación, unirnos por encima de las divisiones históricas. Esto no se trata sólo de una recaudación de fondos: es seguir a Jesús y encontrar nuestro mutuo camino de retorno”, dijo Curry en un comunicado de prensa.

Durante la reunión del Consejo Ejecutivo en febrero, Curry se refirió a la campaña de pensiones y al regreso de la Iglesia de Cuba a la Iglesia Episcopal como un acto de “reconciliación, no importa lo que hagan nuestros gobiernos”. El gobierno de Obama intentó abrir las relaciones entre los gobiernos estadounidense y cubano. Antes de la elección de Donald Trump, se distendieron las restricciones de viajes impuestas a ciudadanos estadounidenses. En 2017, Trump reimpuso las restricciones.

-Lynette Wilson es reportera y jefa de redacción de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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California church embraces Congolese family as father seeks asylum, fights deportation

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 3:43pm

Constantin Bakala’s sons, from left, Daniel Bakala, Emmanuel Bakala and David Bakala, serve as acolytes at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, California. Photo: Colin Mathewson

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal congregation in California is rallying behind the family of a Congolese asylum seeker as he fights to stay in the United States.

Constantin Bakala, 48, who is being held in federal detention, also longs to be reunited with his wife and seven children in San Diego, where the family has been welcomed into the congregation at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Some of the children, ages 6 to 17, have begun serving as acolytes and singing in the choir, the Rev. Colin Mathewson, the vicar, told Episcopal News Service.

“It’s just been a transformative experience,” Mathewson said, for him and his congregation.

The congregation, which he co-pastors with his wife, the Rev. Laurel Mathewson, is a mix of native-born Americans, Sudanese immigrant families and newer Congolese refugees. They rejoiced last week when Bakala won a stay of deportation while federal officials consider a request to reopen his asylum case, but he still could be sent back to Congo, where he fears he will be killed.

An update on #ConstantinBakala https://t.co/MYUZFh9a1O

— Kate Morrissey (@bgirledukate) March 2, 2019

Bakala’s supporters at St. Luke’s aren’t giving up on him.

“It really feels like a moment that God has invited us into, that we can say ‘no’ to or ‘yes’ to,” Mathewson said. “We said yes, and it’s really changed us.”

Bakala was aligned with an opposition political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo and fled with his family to escape the threat of persecution, Mathewson said. The family flew to Brazil and began making their way to San Diego, at one point nearly drowning in a boat off the coast of Nicaragua.

Constantin Bakala. Photo courtesy of Colin Mathewson

They arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in November 2017 and requested asylum at the United States border, as prescribed by U.S. law. Bakala’s wife, Annie Bwetu Kapongo, was required to wear an ankle monitor so she could be released with her children while their cases are pending, but Bakala was separated from them and detained. Mathewson said Bakala represented himself in his asylum hearings, and the court rejected his asylum request and set him on the path to deportation.

He has spent the past 15 months behind bars at a series of detention facilities, including Georgia and Virginia, unable to see his family.

“Constantin’s heartbreaking case is one example of the extreme difficulties asylum seekers face in the U.S.,” said Lacy Bromel of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, which advised Mathewson on raising awareness of Bakala’s case. “Family separation, lack of legal support and detention are all too common when it comes to the experiences of those who are applying for asylum protections.

“In the Office of Government Relations, we advocate to the U.S. government to keep families together, increase access to legal representation, and for alternatives to detention and we urge the church to advocate for those systematic changes as well.”

Such issues weren’t on the radar of the congregation of St. Luke’s when the Mathewsons first learned about Bakala’s plight. Their Congolese parishioners primarily are refugees, not asylum seekers, who had immigrated from a camp in Tanzania and speak a different tribal language from the one spoken by the Bakalas.

A bit of chance brought the Bakalas to St. Luke’s. One member of the congregation teaches English-as-a-second-language classes for refugees, and one of his students accepted an invitation to attend worship services at St. Luke’s, which typically draw about 125 people on Sundays. That woman knew Kapongo, Bakala’s wife, through a mutual babysitter and invited her to St. Luke’s as well, in July 2018.

In conversation with the family, the Mathewsons soon learned about Bakala’s deportation case, and within a week, they were able to find an attorney willing to represent Bakala pro bono.

“In a lot of ways, it was legally too late,” Colin Mathewson said, because the court already had ruled against Bakala’s asylum request. His remaining hope is to submit new evidence on appeal. Bakala fears for his life, Mathewson said, “but the hard part is you have to prove it.”

Hope was running out last month with a deadline looming for his deportation. On Feb. 22, Bakala was granted an emergency stay of deportation, but only for one week, buying his attorney time to press for a longer stay.

At the same time, St. Luke’s was mobilizing an awareness campaign that caught the attention of local media, which featured Bakala’s case in several news reports. Hundreds of people signed a petition opposing for Bakala’s deportation, and the congregation raised about $5,000 to support his family.

Then, on March 1, the family received the good news. The U.S. Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals granted another stay. It doesn’t save Bakala from deportation, Mathewson said, but he will remain in the United States at least another few months while the motion to reopen his case is reviewed.

Kapongo expressed gratitude last week to everyone who has stepped forward to help her family while her husband is in detention.

“I feel at ease when I see you helping and supporting me,” she said in French at a demonstration at the federal building in San Diego, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Without them, I would still be sad at the house.” She and her children are due at a hearing in September on their requests for asylum.

NEXT on @KPBSnews #EveningEdition -Time is running out for a father of 7, who may be deported back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After she survived torture, poison and dangerous journey to the US, Annie Bwetu Kapongo made a public plea to save her husband #ConstantinBakala pic.twitter.com/E0juKJuRat

— Kris Vera-Phillips (@queenkv) February 28, 2019

At this point, the congregation wouldn’t think of turning its back on the family, Mathewson said.

“They are a part of our church, so it’s not some partisan issue,” Mathewson said. “We’re family, and let’s do what we can to take care of each other, to stand up for each other.”

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

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Bishop Samuel Peni chosen as next archbishop of Western Equatoria in South Sudan

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:21pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Bishop of Nzara, Samuel Peni, has been elected Bishop of Yambio and Archbishop of the Church of South Sudan’s Internal Province of Western Equatoria. He will be installed into both new roles on March 10 to succeed Archbishop Peter Munde Yacob, who was also the provincial dean. Archbishop Peter died in October last year after a short illness.

Read the entire article here.

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Environment Network calls on Anglicans around the world to use less plastic

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion’s Environment Network (ACEN) is encouraging Anglicans to reduce their use of plastic in Lent. Organizers hope that those taking part in the “plastic fast” will learn to use less plastic in the longer term in order to protect the earth’s environment. The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Canon Rachel Mash, said that that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. “Plastic is already entering into our drinking water”, she said. “Plastic clogs our rivers, leaches into our soil and is one of the greatest challenges the planet faces.”

Read the entire article here.

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Cuban church celebrates 110 years, its final synod before Episcopal Church reintegration

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:04pm

Episcopal Church of Cuba clergy and guests gather with Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana following the March 3 closing Eucharist of the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Havana, Cuba] The Episcopal Church of Cuba recently celebrated its 110-year history during its final synod as an autonomous diocese in anticipation of its official reintegration with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 2020.

“For 50 years the Episcopal Church has been isolated,” said Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, at the close of the Feb. 28- March 3 General Synod held at Holy Trinity Cathedral. Reintegration, she said, “is a way to be part of a big family.”

Delgado’s strong leadership drove the reintegration, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada, who serves as chair of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council has overseen the Cuban church since its separation from The Episcopal Church in the late 1960s.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana, Cuba, following the opening Eucharist of the 110th General Synod on Feb. 28. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“I mean every word when I say, she’s a visionary, she’s a hard worker,” said Hiltz, in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “She will do anything to promote the interest, wellbeing and resource capacity to support the ministry of this church. She’s steadfast, she perseveres, and it’s not always been easy for her.

“Not everybody was thrilled with the idea of returning to The Episcopal Church, but she just plodded along consistently, she’s worked with the clergy, the laity. I watched her prepare for the special synod last year to decide what province they would belong to, and just the careful way she made sure there was conversation all the way across the church here in Cuba. They came into the synod with the decision and that’s a huge credit to her style, organized and focused, spiritually-centered leadership.”

The Diocese of Cuba is set to join Province II, which includes dioceses from New York and New Jersey in the United States, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

The Cuban church’s reintegration with The Episcopal Church was one of many topics discussed during the synod, which brought together clergy and laity from across the island.

“We are indeed so happy to welcome the Church in Cuba back into The Episcopal Church; there is so much that we can learn from their creative approach to ministry and mission,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops on July 10, 2018, voted unanimously to readmit the Cuban church as a diocese with the House Deputies concurring. The actions of the 79th General Convention accelerated the reintegration process first set in motion four years ago.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio leads the recessional following the Feb. 28 Eucharist opening the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

In March 2015, two months after the United States and Cuba agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations following a 54-year breach, the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s synod voted 39 to 33 in favor of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church. That summer, the 78th General Convention called for closer relations with the Cuban church and a lifting of the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

The Rev. John Kafwanka, the Anglican Communion’s director for mission, gave a presentation about the importance of training Christians for ministry in their everyday lives. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence that began on the island in 1871. In 1901, it became a missionary district of The Episcopal Church. The two churches separated in the 1960s, after Fidel Castro seized power following the 1959 Cuban Revolution and diplomatic relations between the two countries disintegrated. The Episcopal Church of Cuba has functioned as an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba since the separation in 1967. The primates of the Anglican churches of Canada and the West Indies and The Episcopal Church chair the Metropolitan Council.

The synod marked the final time Hiltz, who has served as the chair of the Metropolitan Council for 12 years and is set to retire later this year, would attend.

“It’s a bit emotional for me this synod, it is my last synod here as the primate of Canada and the chair of the Metropolitan Council,” he said.

“It’s mixed emotions, great joy that things have come thus far. I would have felt really awkward ending my time as the chair of the Metropolitan Council if things hadn’t been as far along in terms of the reintegration,” said Hiltz. “It’s been just really wonderful to watch that process unfold since 2015. I’m really happy to see it coming to fruition and to think that next year’s synod, their presiding bishop will be here because they have sometimes spoken of me as their primate. And I guess for all intents and purposes I have been.”

Pending alignment of the Cuban and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church’s constitutions and canons and sign off from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, next March, the Diocese of Cuba will hold its first convention along with a celebration and visit from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

The Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church, gave a presentation on March 2 about next steps in the process of reintegration during the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“We are deeply thankful to Archbishop Hiltz, to the Metropolitan Council (of Cuba) and the Anglican Church of Canada for their years of faithful partnership and support to the church in Cuba,” said Robertson.

Delgado was installed in November 2010. Prior to that, Bishop Miguel Tamayo of the Anglican Church of Uruguay served the church as an interim bishop for six years, splitting his time between Montevideo and Havana. Bishops from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have also served in that role, both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are Episcopal Church dioceses in Province IX.

On Feb. 27, The Episcopal Church announced a campaign to raise pension funds for retired and active clergy. The average priest’s salary in Cuba is $55 per month; the Cuban government doesn’t recognize religious employment, rendering clergy ineligible for state pensions or social security. Over the last 50 years, clergy have had to forgo pensions. The establishment of a pension system provides some security to clergy who can now rely on the church into old age, said Delgado.

The Cuban church has 23 clergy members serving 10,000 Episcopalians in 46 congregations and missions across the island. At the time of the official announcement, the Episcopal Church already had raised more than half of the targeted, one-time amount of $800,000. The money, to be managed by the Church Pension Fund, makes up for the absence of contributions during the separation and addresses an injustice.

“This is part of the work of reconciliation, bringing us together across historic divides. This is not just fundraising; it’s following Jesus and finding our way back to each other,” said Curry, in a press release.

During the church’s February Executive Council meeting, Curry referred to the pensions campaign and the Church of Cuba’s return to The Episcopal Church as an act of “reconciliation no matter what our governments do.” The Obama administration attempted to open relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments; before President Donald Trump’s election, travel restrictions imposed on American citizens were relaxed. In 2017, Trump restored the restrictions.

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

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Anglicans welcome International Women’s Day campaign theme of gender balance

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:56pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group has issued a statement in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8, welcoming its theme of gender balance.

“Gender balance is essential for all communities to thrive,” the statement says. “The Anglican Communion is no exception.” The subtitle for this year’s celebration is #BalanceforBetter, and it has been designed to promote gender balance across all of life, including boardrooms, government, media, employment, wealth distribution and sports coverage.

Read the full article here.

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Police recover skull of ‘The Crusader’ stolen from Dublin church

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:53pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The police service in the Republic of Ireland has recovered the mummified head of The Crusader, which had been stolen from the crypt of a Dublin church last month. The head, along with another skull, were taken from the crypt of St Michan’s Church in Dublin over the weekend of Feb. 23 to 25. This week a police spokesperson said that “the items were recovered as a result of information that came into the possession of the investigating [police].”

Read the full article here.

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Tributes paid following death of former Archbishop of York John Habgood

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of York John Sentamu has led tributes to one of his predecessors, Lord John Habgood, who died March 6. He was 91. The scientist and theologian – he attained a double first in natural sciences at Cambridge University – was serving as bishop of Durham when he was appointed archbishop of York in 1983. He held the post until his retirement in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords as a Crossbench (independent) Peer in his own right. He had previously been a member as bishop of Durham and archbishop of York.

Read the full article here.

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