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From Islam to Roman Catholicism, faith journey leads West African native to Episcopal Church

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:34pm

The Rev. Charles Kamano, left, stands next to Diocese of Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas at Kamano’s service of reception as an Episcopal priest on March 16 at Church of the Holy Spirit in West Haven. Photo: Kamano, via Facebook.

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Charles Kamano may seem like an unlikely Episcopal priest.

When he was received this month by Bishop Ian Douglas as the newest priest in the Diocese of Connecticut, the ceremony was the culmination for Kamano of a long and tumultuous spiritual journey that began thousands of miles away in his native West Africa, where he was raised Muslim and converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager.

Kamano, despite his father’s harsh disapproval, was so committed to his newfound faith that he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. He studied in Rome on a church scholarship but gradually became disenchanted with the church’s hierarchy and left it, immigrating to the United States to start a new life – and a search for a new faith home.

He found the latter in Church of the Holy Spirit, an Episcopal church in West Haven, Connecticut, and after more than six years serving the church and the surrounding community, he was welcomed as an Episcopal priest on March 16 in a service of reception, rather than ordination, since the Episcopal Church accepted his ordination as a Catholic priest.

“It was like the brightest day of my life,” Kamano, 45, told the Episcopal News Service in a phone interview.

Kamano works part time as chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital and recently began pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Southern Connecticut State University. He feels fortunate, he said, to find his calling in the Episcopal Church and is looking forward to serving wherever he is needed.

“He’s a very loving, highly intelligent grounded Christian leader,” Douglas said by phone, adding that Kamano is “really inhabiting the Anglican way of being a Christian. … He appreciates a sense of shared authority while being a church that is episcopally led.”

As a boy growing up in Sierra Leone, his religious routine involved going with his family to their mosque, praying in Arabic and fasting regularly. His father practiced the austere Wahhabi form of Islam, which is dominant in Saudi Arabia and influences that country’s laws demanding strict religious adherence. Wahhabism also has been linked to the rise of extremist groups in the Middle East, notably the group known as Islamic State, or ISIS.

At age 6, he begged his father to let him attend a local Catholic school where some of his friends went, and surprisingly, his father agreed, after hearing from other parents that a good education would give his son professional advantages as an adult.

Along with his education, though, he was developing an appreciation for the faith of the nuns and priests who were his teachers.

“The more I grew … I was contrasting the worldview of the Christian way of living to that of the Muslim worldview,” Kamano said. He saw Christian values as universal values, like showing charity, loving your neighbor, doing no harm or violence. While Muslims in more tolerant sects also emphasize love and charity, his father’s worldview, in Kamano’s eyes, was strict and demanding.

When he decided at age 16 to take catechism classes to convert to Catholicism, he had to do so in secret. None of his family members attended his baptism, and he said his father even threatened to kill him when he made known his desire to attend seminary.

Fearing for his safety, he fled to his parents’ native Guinea with help from his mother. After seven years of seminary studies there and in Mali, he was ordained in 2001 and assigned to two Catholic parishes in Guinea. He later studied in Rome on a church scholarship.

As the years passed, Kamano began to question the rigid hierarchy of the Catholic Church and some of its teachings. Some of its top-down mandates, such as priest celibacy, seemed to him out of touch with the daily lives of Christians.

“Why can’t you live up to a vocation as you are, as God wanted you to be?” Kamano asked himself.

In 2009, when Kamano expressed his reservations to his bishop in Rome he lost his scholarship. Later he found himself at a spiritual crossroads and in early 2010 resigned from his service in the Catholic Church.

Unable to return to Sierra Leone for fear of religious persecution, Kamano decided to resettle in Connecticut, where in 2008 he had served an internship in the Archdiocese of Hartford. When he first attended Church of the Holy Spirit in West Haven, he didn’t count on the warm welcome from the Rev. Lisa Hahneman.

“He pretty much hoped to sneak in and sneak out,” Hahneman, Holy Spirit’s rector, told Episcopal News Service. “And as I like to say, I beat him to the back door.”

She greeted him on his way out and learned that he was a Catholic priest looking for an Episcopal congregation.

“I was fascinated,” she said. He told her more of his background when they met later that week, and she began working with him to develop the process by which he eventually was received as a priest in the church.

Kamano became a reader during Sunday services at Church of the Holy Spirit. He ministered to French-speaking West Africans in the area. And he accompanied Hahneman to church services for the Haitian community in nearby Bridgeport, where Hahneman handled liturgical duties and Kamano delivered sermons in French.

“I came to deeply respect his journey and the depth of his spirituality,” Hahneman said.

Now as an Episcopal priest, more doors may be opening for Kamano in the diocese, which always has congregations in need of priests. Kamano said he feels humbly blessed.

“I have always loved the priesthood,” he said. “I know how privileged I am to be called by God – even though I am nothing, I am human.”

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

‘Vitality and growth across the Communion’

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:43am

[Anglican Communion News Service] It is almost exactly a year since the Anglican Consultative Council met for ACC-16 in Lusaka, Zambia. So much has been happening across our Communion since then. Let me tell you about just a few things to give you a taste of how active and lively our Communion has been in the last few months.

Full article.

Joann Saylors named canon for mission amplification in Diocese of Texas

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 9:46am

[Diocese of Texas] The Rev. Canon Joann Saylors has accepted a call as canon for mission amplification the Diocese of Texas announced April 4. Bishop Andy Doyle noted that after an extensive search drew applications from across the country and Canada, the successful candidate was “right next door.”

Saylors, who will join the diocesan staff July 1, is currently canon for deployment and congregational development in the Diocese of West Texas. Her pre-seminary background as a CPA working in project management and team leadership, combined with her ministry in a parish and experience in congregational development, “distinguished her in a supremely talented field of candidates,” said Doyle.

“I am excited about Bishop Doyle’s vision for the future of the Church and grateful for the opportunity to help reimagine the place of the Church in the world, facilitating new and creative ways to live into God’s mission with the world,” Saylors said.

“Canon Saylors is the perfect fit for this critical position,” Doyle added, noting, “This was not an easy brief to fill, but I’m delighted that she shares our excitement for the diocesan vision and brings substantive giftedness and specific experience for the ministry that lies ahead.”

The Rev. Kai Ryan, canon to the ordinary and diocesan chief operating officer led the yearlong search. “Joann understands deeply the power of Christ’s love to change lives and communities and will add to Mary MacGregor’s excellent legacy,” Ryan said.

Saylors will lead the Mission Amplification Team’s five missioners to assist leaders and congregations to plant new communities of faith, both church plants and missional communities, and to nurture congregations and their leaders. The team provides coaching and consulting, as well as assessments and programs like cultural competency training and formation events. Additionally, the diocesan team helps congregations strategize and engage in effective action in response to opportunities and challenges. With the arrival of the new canon, the Mission Amplification Team will be able to support more congregations to enhance and expand their ministries to have an impact on their communities.

Saylors has served in her West Texas role since 2012, when she and her husband Rick relocated from Church of the Redeemer, Irving, in the Diocese of Dallas. She received her Master of Divinity from Seminary of the Southwest in Austin in 2010. Prior to ordination, Saylors was a financial systems and project management consultant. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Dallas, she graduated from the University of Texas as a Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Plan II Honors Program and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in honors finance and accounting. She remains a licensed CPA.  She has served ex officio on a number of diocesan committees and as a member of the Board of Good Samaritan Community Services in San Antonio. She and Rick enjoy books, travel and spoiling their three dogs, as well as their quest to find the perfect breakfast taco.

La politique d’immigration de Donald Trump force l’Église épiscopale à réduire son réseau de réinstallation des réfugiés

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:39pm

Bien qu’auparavant scolarisée en sixième année, Ayesh, qui a fui le Gouvernorat d’Idleb en Syrie pour se rendre en Turquie, ne va pas à l’école. Photo : UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

[Episcopal News Service] En 2018, L’Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) va diviser par six son réseau de trente-et-un membres affiliés en raison de l’évolution de la politique des États-Unis qui va diminuer de plus de la moitié le nombre de réfugiés se réinstallant dans le pays chaque année.

Ces affiliés et les diocèses de l’Église épiscopale dans lesquels ils sont situés, sont les suivants :

  • Refugee One à Chicago dans l’llinois (Diocèse de Chicago).
  • Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida à Jacksonville (Diocèse de Floride).
  • Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota à Fargo et Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota à Grand Forks (Diocèse du Dakota du Nord).
  • Ascentria Care Alliance à Concord dans le New Hampshire (Diocèse du New Hampshire).
  • Ascentria Care Alliance à Westfield dans le Massachusetts (Diocèse de l’Ouest du Massachusetts).

EMM ne réinstallera pas de réfugiés par l’entremise de ces affiliés pendant l’exercice fédéral 2018 (du 1er octobre 2017 au 30 septembre 2018).

Les fermetures prévues sont une disposition douloureuse mais stratégiquement nécessaire, confie le chanoine E. Marquez Stevenson, directeur d’EMM, à Episcopal News Service. Qui plus est, elles arrivent à la suite de deux autres décisions récentes visant à réduire l’empreinte d’EMM, l’une directement liée à l’évolution de la politique gouvernementale concernant les réfugiés et l’autre pas.

« C’est douloureux, c’est horrible mais nous espérons – nous prions – que nous ayons pris les bonnes décisions pour la santé du réseau global et pour le bien-être des réfugiés », poursuit-il. « C’est notre souci numéro un ».

À la suite des décrets du président Donald Trump sur l’immigration qui réduisent de plus de la moitié le nombre de réfugiés pouvant être réinstallés chaque année dans le pays, le département d’État des États-Unis a émis une directive à l’intention des organismes de réinstallation annonçant au maximum 50 000 admissions de réfugiés au cours du prochain exercice. Le plus récent des deux décrets de Donald Trump se trouve ici.

Mark Stevenson explique qu’EMM et les huit autres organismes de réinstallation qui travaillent sous contrat fédéral américain pour réinstaller des réfugiés « étudient la façon de se structurer pour avoir la taille qui convient pour l’exercice 2018 ».

Les autres organismes de réinstallation sont Church World Service, Ethiopian Community Development CouncilHIAS (auparavant connu sous le nom de Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services et World Relief (selon le droit fédéral, les réfugiés ne peuvent entrer aux États-Unis que sous les auspices d’un de ces organismes).

« Nous étudions également comment nous structurer pour rester en bonne santé pour le reste de cette année car une grande partie du financement qui provient du gouvernement fédéral est calculé sur le nombre de réfugiés arrivant aux États-Unis », ajoute-t-il.

Ainsi, lorsque les réfugiés ne peuvent pas entrer aux États-Unis, les organismes de réinstallation comme EMM reçoivent beaucoup moins d’argent fédéral que prévu. Cette réduction rend également plus difficile la prestation de services continus aux réfugiés déjà réinstallés aux États-Unis.

Les administrateurs de chacun des neuf organismes sont forcés de faire des choix pour préserver l’intégrité du réseau d’organismes et d’affiliés de la meilleure manière pour les réfugiés.

« Il est important que nous ayons un système permettant de réinstaller les réfugiés là où ils sont en sécurité, où c’est abordable, où l’occasion leur est donnée de prospérer en tant que nouveaux Américains », explique Mark Stevenson.

En gardant ceci à l’esprit, dit-il, chaque organisme fait des choix en fonction de là où il opère à présent, où il opère en partenariat avec d’autres organismes et où, compte tenu des nationalités prévues des réfugiés futurs, d’anciens réfugiés ont formé des communautés qui peuvent aider les nouveaux venus.

« Nous ne voulons pas abandonner une communauté complètement à son sort », poursuit Mark Stevenson.

Le chanoine E. Mark Stevenson et le personnel national d’Episcopal Migration Ministries se sont retrouvés lors d’une retraite à l’Episcopal Church Center de New York alors qu’EMM et les huit autres organismes de réinstallation des États-Unis étaient confrontés à des réductions budgétaires en raison de la politique des États-Unis en matière d’admission de réfugiés. Photo : EMM via Facebook

Période inquiétante pour la réinstallation des réfugiés

Les dernières sept semaines et demie ont été difficiles et imprévisibles pour les neuf organismes de réinstallation.

Le 27 janvier, le décret initial de Donald Trump a suspendu l’entrée des réfugiés aux États-Unis pour au moins 120 jours. Le décret indiquait également que lorsque l’administration lèverait l’interdiction, d’autres restrictions seraient imposées aux réfugiés potentiels de sept pays à majorité musulmane. Donald Trump a en outre déclaré qu’une fois l’interdiction levée, il n’autoriserait que 50 000 réfugiés à entrer aux États-Unis au lieu des 110 000 prévus pour l’exercice. Selon le droit fédéral, le président décide chaque année du nombre maximum de réfugiés qui seront autorisés à se réinstaller aux États-Unis. Les neuf organismes avaient tous adaptés leurs personnel et bureaux pour réinstaller un bien plus grand nombre de réfugiés.

Le 6 février, James Robart, juge de District des États-Unis à Seattle a temporairement bloqué la mesure prise par Donald Trump, laissant le Programme d’admission des réfugiés du Département d’État dans l’incertitude. Donald Trump a émis son deuxième décret présidentiel le 6 mars, retirant l’Irak de la liste des sept pays et reformulant son premier décret pour tenter d’éviter de nouvelles allégations de violation de la garantie de liberté religieuse qui figure dans la Constitution des États-Unis. Le nouveau décret maintient la réduction du nombre de réfugiés qui peuvent entrer aux États-Unis une fois que l’activité reprend.

Le décret du 6 mars est en suspens tandis que les juges de district fédéraux examinent les contestations. Le 29 mars, Derrick Watson, juge de district des États-Unis à Hawaï a bloqué le décret présidentiel pour une période plus longue. Derrick Watson avait auparavant imposé un jugement provisoire. La décision reste en vigueur jusqu’à ce que Derrick Watson en décide autrement, y compris au cours d’une procédure en appel déposée le jour suivant par l’administration Trump.

Le gouvernement a également fait appel de la décision d’un juge fédéral du Maryland qui a bloqué le décret. Et James Robart, le juge de district fédéral de l’État de Washington, n’a pas encore statué sur les contestations du deuxième décret présidentiel.

Le terme « réfugié » a un sens juridique spécifique. Le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (UNHCR) désigne une personne en tant que « réfugiée » si elle fuit la persécution, la guerre ou la violence. Ces personnes présentent une demande de désignation et sont considérées de façon distincte des immigrés. Elles obtiennent la désignation de réfugiées une fois que l’UNHCR a vérifié leur demande. Episcopal Migration Ministries réinstalle les réfugiés qui ont reçu la désignation de l’ONU, sont envoyés par l’ONU aux États-Unis et subissent un processus de vérification des États-Unis.

L’impact du décret présidentiel sur les résultats d’EMM est particulièrement lourd car EMM est un ministère unique de l’Église épiscopale, tant sur le plan structurel que fiscal. Tout en n’étant pas constitué en société séparée comme l’est Episcopal Relief & Development, EMM reçoit très peu d’argent du budget général de l’église, recevant au lieu de cela 99,5 % de son financement du gouvernement fédéral. Son bureau principal est sis au sein de l’Episcopal Church Center à New York.

Mark Stevenson indique que 90 % de l’argent du contrat va directement à la réinstallation des réfugiés. EMM retient environ 2 millions de dollars pour ses coûts administratifs, y compris tous les salaires du personnel national. Tout argent inutilisé est reversé au gouvernement.

Les affiliés reçoivent de l’argent des contrats fédéraux par l’intermédiaire d’EMM et sont ainsi confrontés à d’importantes réductions budgétaires lorsqu’aucun réfugié n’entre dans le pays. Le réseau d’EMM est une combinaison de trois types d’affiliés. Deux sont essentiellement des succursales d’EMM. Les autres sont des structures indépendantes qui travaillent uniquement avec EMM ou avec EMM et Church World Service et/ou Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Les affiliés utilisent des réserves de trésorerie, des collectes de fonds et tout appui qu’EMM peut leur donner pour payer leurs salariés et couvrir les loyers et autres charges d’exploitation. Le Conseil exécutif de l’Église est convenu en février de donner à EMM 500 000 dollars pour l’aider pour l’exercice 2017. L’organisme lui-même a récemment annoncé une campagne de collecte de fonds pour combler l’écart de financement.

Au cours de l’exercice 2016, soit du 1er octobre 2015 au 30 septembre 2016, EMM a réinstallé aux États-Unis 5 762 réfugiés provenant de 35 pays, notamment de la République démocratique du Congo, de la Birmanie, de l’Afghanistan et de la Syrie. Pour l’exercice en cours, EMM a déjà accueilli 2 766 réfugiés et avait prévu de réinstaller 6 175 personnes jusqu’à ce que Donald Trump signe son décret le 27 janvier. Au total, chacun des neuf organismes a déjà réinstallé environ 38 000 réfugiés pour l’exercice en cours, explique Mark Stevenson.

Depuis le changement de politique de l’administration Trump, EMM a réduit son personnel national de base de 22 % du fait de la réduction du financement fédéral. EMM a annoncé en février qu’il fermerait le bureau qu’il avait à Miami depuis plus de 30 ans, non pas en raison des décisions de l’administration Trump mais du fait des changements décidés par l’ancien Président Barack Obama en ce qui concerne la politique des États-Unis vis-à-vis des migrants cubains.

La division par six du réseau d’affiliés et la fermeture du bureau de Miami représentent une réduction de 23 % du réseau, poursuit Mark Stevenson. « Nous espérons que ce sera suffisant », ajoute-t-il.

Certains des neuf autres organismes de réinstallation ont déjà annoncé leurs décisions. World Relief a déclaré à la mi-février qu’il  lui faudrait licencier plus de 140 membres de son personnel et fermer ses bureaux de Boise (État de l’Idaho), Columbus (État de l’Ohio), Miami, Nashville (État du Tennessee) et Glen Burnie (État du Maryland).

Church World Service a lancé une campagne de collecte de fonds d’un million de dollars.

L’autre réalité, explique Mark Stevenson, est que le nombre réduit de réfugiés et les décisions que les organismes doivent prendre vont nuire à l’économie des villes des affiliés. Les propriétaires qui louent aux réfugiés, les employeurs qui les embauchent et les professeurs de langue, le personnel médical, les employés des écoles qui les aident à s’intégrer dans la société américaine vont perdre de l’argent ou des emplois, prédit Mark Stevenson.

« Nous prenons les meilleures décisions stratégiques que nous pouvons en fonction des informations dont nous disposons », conclut-il. « Ainsi, compte tenu des informations que nous avons maintenant et en partant de l’hypothèse que les neuf organismes de réinstallation continuent tous de travailler, nous croyons que cet ajustement de la taille de notre réseau nous positionnera correctement et nous permettra d’être un réseau sain de réinstallation des réfugiés lorsque prend fin la suspension et pour l’exercice 2018 ».

Entretemps, Rebecca Linder Blachly, directrice des relations avec le gouvernement de l’Église épiscopale a déclaré à ENS que son bureau continuerait à aider ceux de l’administration qui décideront si l’interdiction peut être levée après 120 jours à « faire confiance au bon processus que nous avons mis en place » pour la réinstallation des réfugiés.

Le  communiqué de presse officiel concernant la réduction se trouve ici.

– La révérende Mary Frances Schjonberg est rédacteur et journaliste pour l’Episcopal News Service.

Trump’s immigration policies force reduction of Episcopal Church’s refugee resettlement network

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:23pm

Although she used to be in grade six, Ayesh, who fled to Turkey from the Idlib Governorate of Syria does not attend school. Photo: UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Migration Ministries will reduce the size of its 31-member affiliate network by six in 2018 because of changing U.S. policy that will reduce the number of refugees to be resettled in this country annually by more than half.

The affiliates, and the Episcopal dioceses in which they are located, are:

  • Refugee One in Chicago, Illinois (Diocese of Chicago);
  • Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville (Diocese of Florida);
  • Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota in Fargo and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota in Grand Forks (Diocese of North Dakota);
  • Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord, New Hampshire (Diocese of New Hampshire);
  • Ascentria Care Alliance in Westfield, Massachusetts (Diocese of Western Massachusetts).

EMM will not resettle refugees through these affiliates for the federal fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018).

The planned closings are a painful but strategically necessary move, the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, EMM’s director, told Episcopal News Service. Moreover, they come after two other recent decisions to shrink EMM’s footprint, one directly related to the government’s changing refugee policy and one not.

“It’s painful; it’s horrible, but we hope – we pray – that we have made the right decisions for the health of the overall network and for the well-being of the refugees,” he said. “That is our number one concern.”

Following President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration that reduce the number of refugees able to be annually resettled in the country by more than half, the U.S. Department of State has issued guidance to the resettlement agencies to plan for no more than 50,000 refugee admissions in the coming fiscal year. The most recent of Trump’s two orders is here.

Stevenson said EMM and the other eight resettlement agencies that work under U.S. federal contracts to resettle refugees “are looking at structuring ourselves to be the right size for fiscal year 2018.”

The other resettlement agencies are Church World Service, Ethiopian Community Development Council, HIAS (formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and World Relief. (By federal law, refugees may only enter the U.S. under the auspices of one of those agencies.)

“We’re also looking at how we structure ourselves to stay healthy during the remainder of this year because much of the funding that comes from the federal government is calculated on the number of refugees coming to the United States,” he said.

Thus, when refugees cannot enter the U.S., resettlement agencies such as EMM receive far less federal money than anticipated. That reduction also makes it harder to provide ongoing services to refugees already resettled in the U.S.

Administrators at all nine agencies have been forced to make choices that will preserve the integrity of the network of agencies and affiliates in a way that is the best for refugees.

“It’s important for us to have a system where refugees are resettled where it is safe, where it’s affordable, where opportunity is given to them to thrive as new Americans,” Stevenson said.

With those concerns in mind, he said, each agency has been making choices based on where it operates now, where it operates in partnership with other agencies and where, given the anticipated nationalities of future refugees, former refugees have formed communities that can support newcomers.

“We don’t want to leave a community completely in the lurch,” Stevenson said.

The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson and the national staff of Episcopal Migration Ministries met for a retreat at the Episcopal Church Center in New York as EMM and the eight other resettlement agencies in the United States were facing cuts due to changing U.S. policy on refugee admissions. Photo: EMM via Facebook

An unsettling time for refugee resettlement

The past seven and a half weeks have been a difficult and unpredictable for the nine resettlement agencies.

On Jan. 27,  Trump’s initial executive order suspended the entry of refugees into the United States for at least 120 days. The order also said that when the administration lifts the ban, there would be further restrictions on potential refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. Furthermore, Trump said that, after the ban ends, he would allow only 50,000 refugees into the United States instead of the anticipated 110,000 this fiscal year. By federal law, the president makes an annual determination of the maximum number of refugees that will be allowed to resettle in the United States. All nine agencies had geared up with people and offices to resettle the larger number of refugees.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle on Feb. 6 temporarily blocked Trump’s action, leaving the State Department’s refugee admissions program in limbo. Trump issued his second executive order March 6, removing Iraq from the list of seven countries and rewording his first order in an attempt to avoid new allegations that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s religious freedom guarantee. The new order maintains the reduction in the number of refugees who can enter the U.S. after that work resumes.

The March 6 order is on hold while federal district court judges consider challenges to it. On March 29, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii issued a longer-lasting hold on the order. Watson had earlier imposed a temporary restraining order. The ruling is in effect until Watson orders otherwise, including during an appeal, which the Trump administration filed the next day.

The government has also appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Maryland that blocked the order. And Robart, the federal district judge in Washington, has not yet ruled on challenges to the second order.

The executive order’s impact on EMM’s bottom line is especially drastic because EMM is a unique ministry of the Episcopal Church, both structurally and fiscally. While not separately incorporated, as is Episcopal Relief & Development, EMM receives very little money from the church-wide budget, instead receiving 99.5 percent of its funding from the federal government. Its main office is housed at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

Stevenson has said that 90 percent of the contract money directly goes to resettling refugees. EMM retains about $2 million for administrative costs, including all national staff salaries. Any unused money goes back to the government.

The affiliates receive money via EMM from the federal contracts and thus face big budget cuts when no refugees enter the country. EMM’s network is a mixture of three types of affiliates. Two are essentially EMM branch offices. The rest are independent operations that work only with EMM or with EMM and Church World Service and/or Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Affiliates are using cash reserves, fundraising and whatever support EMM can give them to pay their employees and cover leases and other operating expenses. The Church’s Executive Council agreed in February to give EMM $500,000 to help it through 2017. The agency itself recently announced a fundraising campaign to bridge the funding gap.

In fiscal year 2016, which ran from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, EMM resettled 5,762 refugees to the United States from 35 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan and Syria. Already this fiscal year, EMM welcomed 2,766 refugees and anticipated resettling 6,175 people until Trump signed his order Jan. 27. Overall, all nine agencies have already resettled approximately 38,000 refugees this fiscal year, Stevenson said.

Since the Trump administration’s policy shift, EMM has reduced its national core staff by 22 percent due to the reduced federal funding. It announced in late February that it would close its more than 30-year-old Miami office, not because of the Trump administration’s moves but because of changes made by former President Barack Obama to U.S. policy on Cuban migrants.

Reducing the affiliate network by six and closing the Miami office equals a 23 percent reduction in the network, Stevenson said. “We are hopeful that will be sufficient,” he added.

Some of the other nine resettlement agencies have already announced their decisions. World Relief said in mid-February that it would lay off more than 140 staff members and close offices in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami; Nashville, Tennessee, and Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Church World Service has begun a $1 million fundraising campaign.

The other reality, Stevenson said, is that the reduced number of refugees and the decisions the agencies have to make will hurt the economies in the affiliates’ cities. Landlords who rent to refugees, employers who hire them and the language teachers, medical personnel, school employees who help them integrate into U.S. society will lose money or jobs, Stevenson predicted.

“We’re making the best strategic decisions that we can every day based on the information we have in front of us,” he said. “So, given the information that we have now and the assumptions that we’re all working across all nine resettlement agencies, we believe that that adjustment in our network size will properly position us to be a healthy network for resettling refugees come the end of a suspension and into fiscal 2018.”

Meanwhile, Episcopal Church Director of Government Relations Rebecca Linder Blachly told ENS that her office would continue to help those in the administration who will decide if the ban can be lifted after 120 days “be confident that we have a good process in place” for resettling refugees.

The official press release concerning the reduction is here.

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

General Seminary to award 4 honorary degrees at 2017 Commencement ceremonies

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 3:09pm

[General Theological Seminary news release] The General Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the next recipients of its honorary doctor of divinity degree, to be conferred at the 195th Commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, May 17.

“Honorary doctorates of divinity include individuals who are called into the special ministry of leadership within the episcopacy, priestly service, and laity alike,” said theRev. Kurt H. Dunkle, dean and president. “The doctorate of divinity recognizes the special charism of study, teaching and ecclesial leadership unique to a church leader. This distinction is not an emolument, but recognition of the integral part of the formational role General Seminary had in each of these recipients’ preparation and furtherance for their unique ministries. The honorary degree also highlights the fundamental role of ministerial formation; each of the recipients’ relationship with General Seminary prepared or furthered their unique ministry.”

The four recipients of the honorary Doctor of Divinity are: the Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, the Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, the Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe and Herb Thomas, unanimously elected at the February meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director and author. She graduated from The General Theological Seminary in 1980 with a master of divinity degree. She joined The General Theological Seminary as spiritual director and became a part of General’s faculty in 1990, teaching spiritual direction and pastoral theology, in addition to leading retreats and quiet days.

Crafton is honorary associate rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Metuchen, New Jersey. She was rector of St. Clement’s Church in Manhattan’s Theatre District. She was also a chaplain for the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York, and served historic Trinity Church, Wall Street, and St. John’s Church in Greenwich Village. She was a chaplain at ground zero during the recovery effort, following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

An actress, director and producer, she has worked for many years in combining the lively arts and the life of faith. Her books, articles, and radio scripts have won many awards, including numerous Polly Bond Awards from Episcopal Communicators and the coveted Gabriel Award for religious broadcasting. She is seen frequently on television both as a preacher and as a commentator on Hallmark’s “New Morning” and “American at Worship,” and has been profiled extensively in electronic and print media throughout the world. She is a prolific and highly respected author. Her most recent books are The Also Life (2016) and Called (2017).

Barbara Crafton is married to Richard Quaintance, sometimes better known simply as “Q”, a professor of English literature. She has two children and two grandchildren.

Crafton commented: “I love students. I love walking with them as they prepare for the vocation for which I prepared in this place so long ago, and I have loved the ongoing relationships I have had with many of them, years after their graduations. As long as there are students here and for as long as I am able, I will count it my joy to support them in any way I can.”

The Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio is the diocesan bishop for the Diocese of Cuba, the first woman to hold this office. She attended the Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz, graduating in 1981 with a degree in sociology. In 1982, she moved to Cuba to enter the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas, Cuba.

She was ordained in Cuba as a deacon in 1986. Shortly thereafter, she arrived at Itabo, Cuba to serve at Santa Maria Virgen. Working from a small house across the street, Deacon Griselda began introducing the townspeople to the love and hope of Christ. In 1991 Bishop Emilio Hernandez ordained Deacon Griselda as an Episcopal priest with two other women, the first three women priests of the Episcopal Church of Cuba. She continued at Santa Maria Virgen as Rectora for the next 20 years, inspiring the congregation of Santa Maria Virgen to work together to restore their town church back proud and strong, to build a self-sustaining community system of agro-ecological farms on and around the church, and to build their relationships with each other and with God.

On Feb. 7, 2010, she was consecrated as bishop coadjutor for the Diocese of Cuba and was installed later that year on November 28 as diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana. She became the first woman to serve in that role as diocesan bishop of Cuba.

At the time of her consecration as bishop, the Cuban church included about 40 congregations and some 6,000 Episcopalians. “La Obispa,” as she is affectionately known, is the proud mother of three grown children: Griselda Edith, Lautaro, and Marcela Beatriz. She is married to Gerardo Logildes Coroas, who was recently ordained as an Episcopal priest.

The Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe is the bishop of Central New York. Duncan-Probe holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University, a master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a master of divinity degree from The General Theological Seminary, and a doctor of philosophy degree in theology from The Graduate Theological Foundation, completed at Oxford University.

She was consecrated as the 11th bishop of Central New York on Dec. 3, 2016, following her election to the position at a special convention of the Diocese of Central New York on Aug. 6, 2016. She enjoys building up sustainable ministry, encouraging people in their service of God, and sharing the vibrant love of Jesus by organizing and implementing healthy church systems.

Her vocation as a priest led her to serve in a wide variety of parish ministry settings, including two years in the Diocese of Massachusetts and nine years in the Diocese of Virginia. From 2009 until shortly after her election to the episcopate, she was the rector of St. Peter’s in the Woods Episcopal Church in Fairfax Station, Virginia. There, she became the first woman to shepherd a church from mission to parish status in the Diocese of Virginia.

Prior to entering ordained ministry, Duncan-Probe had a successful career in education and business. She began her professional life as an educator, teaching in public and private schools, including 2 years working with inner-city at-risk youth in Los Angeles, California. During her time in California, she also enjoyed a career as a professional singer, performing gospel, blues and jazz music with a variety of groups.

She and her husband, Chris Probe, have three children. Bishop Duncan-Probe enjoys golfing, hiking, visiting art galleries, kayaking, tennis, and spending time with her family and their two dogs.

Duncan-Probe commented: “As a graduate of The General Theological Seminary I remember my time there fondly, and I am grateful to the institution for this honor. I look forward to the privilege of spending time with this year’s graduates, the leaders and scholars who have helped to form them, and my fellow honorees.”

Mr. Herb Thomas is a lay leader in the Episcopal Church. He served in various administrative positions at The General Theological Seminary for 35 years. Following his retirement, he became an honorary alumnus of General. He was also the inaugural recipient of the Clement Clark Moore Award.

Before his work at General, Herb served in the Army; he also worked as an assistant personnel manager at a financial institution.

He joined staff at General in 1958 as the secretary for alumni affairs. His tenure at General included service under three different deans in various positions, and on numerous committees. His career at General culminated in becoming vice president of operations. He retired from this position in 1993 after 35 years of service. While at General, Thomas created the alumni relations department. Additionally, he also spearheaded the first annual fund. He also inspired collaboration by working with other seminaries to encourage tied giving from parishes. He also innovated the placement process, which assisted students in determining their first call.

Thomas is a lifelong Episcopalian; he was baptized at Grace Church Newark, New Jersey, and has always been a member of the Diocese of New Jersey, moving to Trinity Church in Moorestown in 1995. He has served in many lay roles for both the diocese and his parish. He was a member of the Board of Youth Consultation Services for the Diocese of Newark and served his parish on the vestry and as a warden. He has been married for 60 years and has one daughter and one granddaughter.

Thomas describes his work at General “as a labor of love.”

Lambeth Palace announces new bishop at Lambeth Palace

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:43am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Lambeth Palace is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Tim Thornton, the current bishop of Truro, as the new Bishop at Lambeth. Thornton will take up this post in September, replacing the Rt. Rev. Nigel Stock, who is retiring.

His duties at Lambeth will include supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s work in the House of Bishops, General Synod and the Archbishop’s Council. He will also be heavily involved in the Lambeth Conference 2020, and take on the role of Bishop to the Forces.

Full article.

Anglican Church in Peru calls for aid

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:37am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in Peru has established the “Help us to help Others” commission to mobilize financial support for the most vulnerable and neglected communities amid ongoing floods and mudslides. During the first months of 2017 the “Niño” phenomenon has brought heavy rains to the Andean regions of Peru.  More than 100 people have been killed and an estimated 118,000 have been seriously affected. Over 28,000 homes are either severely affected or uninhabitable and much of the country’s infrastructure is damaged.

Full article.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Easter message 2017

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 2:24pm


[Episcopal News Service] “Go forth to be people of the Resurrection,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry said in his Easter 2017 message. “Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.”

The Festive day of Easter is Sunday, April 16.

Easter 2017 Message

It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.

Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.

 Jesus entered the city on the other side, not on a warhorse, but on a donkey, recalling the words of Zechariah:

Behold your King comes to you
Triumphant and victorious is He
Humble and riding on a donkey

Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way. That violence is not the way. That hatred is not the way. That brute force and brutality are not the way.

Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That’s why he entered Jerusalem. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.

 God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.

He didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God.  On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.

 So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.

Have a blessed Easter.  And bless the world.  Amen.

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

Évêque Primat Michael B. Curry Message de Pâques 2017

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 2:00pm

Il m’a fallu quelques années pour m’en rendre compte mais Jésus ne s’est pas simplement trouvé à Jérusalem en ce premier Dimanche des rameaux. Il n’était pas en vacances. Il n’était pas là pour juste flâner en ville. Jésus était à Jérusalem délibérément. Il est arrivé à Jérusalem aux environs de Pessa’h lorsque les pèlerins étaient dans la ville. Lorsque les espoirs et les attentes des gens pour l’aube de la liberté que Moïse avait promise à la première Pessa’h pouvaient soudainement se réaliser pour eux de leur vivant.

Jésus a planifié et mis en œuvre son entrée dans Jérusalem pour envoyer un message. Il est entré dans la ville, d’un côté de la ville, quasiment, nous disent les spécialistes, au même moment que Ponce Pilate entrait dans la ville du côté opposé. Ponce Pilate, monté sur son cheval de bataille. Ponce Pilate, avec des soldats autour de lui. Ponce Pilate, portant les insignes de l’Empire de Rome. Ponce Pilate, représentant César qui se disait fils de dieu. Ponce Pilate qui, par le biais de Rome, avait conquis les habitants de Jérusalem. Ponce Pilate, représentant l’empire qui les avait privés de liberté. Ponce Pilate, représentant l’empire qui allait maintenir le peuple juif sous un statut de colonie par la force brutale et la violence.

Jésus est entré dans la ville de l’autre côté, monté non pas sur un cheval de bataille mais sur un âne, rappelant les paroles de Zacharie :

Voici que ton roi s’avance vers toi
Il est juste et victorieux
Humble, monté sur un âne

 Jésus est entré dans la ville au même moment que Ponce Pilate pour leur montrer et pour nous montrer que Dieu a une autre voie. Cette violence n’est pas la voie. Cette haine n’est pas la voie. Cette force et cette brutalité ne sont pas la voie.

Jésus est venu pour nous montrer qu’il y a une autre voie. La voie de l’amour altruiste et sacrificiel. C’est pour cela qu’il est entré dans Jérusalem. C’est pour cela qu’il est allé sur la croix. C’était la puissance de cet amour déversé depuis le trône de Dieu qui, même après l’horreur de la crucifixion, allait le faire passer de la mort dans la vie.

Dieu est venu parmi nous en la personne de Jésus pour lancer un mouvement. Un mouvement pour changer le visage de la terre. Un mouvement pour nous changer, nous les habitants de la terre. Un mouvement pour changer la création et passer du cauchemar qu’elle est souvent devenue, au rêve que Dieu a conçu qu’elle soit.

Il ne s’est pas simplement trouvé à Jérusalem en ce premier Dimanche des rameaux. Il est allé à Jérusalem pour une raison. Pour nous envoyer un message. Que pas même les puissances titanesques de la mort ne peuvent arrêter l’amour de Dieu. Ce matin de Pâques, il est ressuscité des morts et a proclamé la victoire de l’amour.

Pour que vous ayez de joyeuses Pâques. Allez et soyez le peuple de la résurrection. Suivez la voie de Jésus : n’ayez pas honte d’aimer. N’ayez pas honte de suivre Jésus.

Joyeuses Pâques. Et que le monde soit béni. Amen.

Le Très Rév. Michael Curry
Évêque Président et Primat
de l’Église épiscopale

Toronto church hosts ‘creation care fair’ to discuss climate change

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 12:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] At a day-long “creation care fair” held at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church in Toronto’s Leaside neighborhood, Anglicans and community members had a chance to ask church and secular leaders about how they were responding to the challenge of climate change. Front and center were questions about whether or not the Anglican Church of Canada will divest from fossil fuel companies.

Full article.

Church of Wales rejects complaints over Bishop of Llandaff selection

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 12:48pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church in Wales has rejected claims of “deeply inappropriate” conduct during the selection process for a new bishop of Llandaff.

A gay clergyman, Dean of St Albans Jeffrey John, accused the church of homophobia after he was rejected for the role. He is understood to have received over half the votes, but not the two thirds required.

Full article.


Fri, 03/31/2017 - 12:08pm


Anglican appeal launched for cyclone victims in Australia

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 12:05pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid has launched an appeal for the victims of Cyclone Debbie in North Queensland, Australia.

One of the most powerful cyclones ever to hit Queensland devastated a large swathe of the coastline on March 28 and caused further damage as it moved inland. Local residents, churches and community groups, as well as the army and police, have begun the slow cleanup in centers such as Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Proserpine, as well as offshore islands Hamilton, Hayman and Daydream that were hit hard.

Full article.

Marie Tatro named Long Island vicar for community justice

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 12:01pm

[Diocese of Long Island] Long Island Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano announced March 29 the appointment of the Rev. Marie A. Tatro as vicar for community justice, a newly created position.

“I am very grateful to Mother Marie Tatro for accepting my invitation to join the staff of the diocese to shepherd the efforts of our clergy and people to serve the vulnerable in our communities in areas of immigration, housing, and equal rights and treatment,” Provenzano said. “Mother Tatro will provide strong and focused leadership in areas of community justice and provide direction to the diocese in tangible ways of living the Baptismal Covenant. She will be a resource to parishes and a liaison to the many commissions and agencies that serve at-risk populations.”

The Rev. Marie Tatro

As vicar for community justice, Tatro will have primary oversight of diocesan representation regarding social justice ministry and will serve as a key adviser to the bishop and to diocesan staff on social justice issues. She will also work closely with the staff of Episcopal Ministries of Long Island to develop funding support for social ministries within the diocese.

“I am honored to be part of creating this new position in the Diocese of Long Island,” Tatro said. “In these times when many of our sisters and brothers are at risk, I am encouraged by the witness of many good souls, both inside and outside the church, who stand with and defend the most vulnerable, the outcast and the oppressed. Rather than falling into despair, we have mobilized. With God’s help, I will do my best to put the beauty and power of the Gospel into action. As disciples of Jesus, our diocese will continue to work to bend the arc of history toward justice for all of God’s people.”

Tatro received a master’s degree in divinity studies from The General Theological Seminary and has a doctorate from C.U.N.Y. Law School.  She has a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Prior to seminary, Tatro worked as an attorney in nonprofit organizations that provide free legal representation.

Tatro was curate at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, where she launched The Messengers of Justice Project, a service providing legal and pastoral support, referrals to individuals and educational workshops for the community. Over the past year, she served as supply priest at Trinity-Morrisania Church in the South Bronx and at All Saints Church, Sunnyside, in Queens. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Faith in New York and has worked closely with other interfaith social justice organizations including The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC.

Tatro began her diocesan position on March 29.

Le duo Lent Madness* braque l’attention sur les histoires inspirantes des saints

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 10:10am

Légende de la photo : Le révérend Scott Gunn, à gauche, et le révérend Tim Schenck posent avec une image grand format du gagnant du Golden Halo 2015 : Saint François d’Assise. Photo : Lent Madness

[Episcopal News Service] Le révérend Tim Schenck, recteur d’une église épiscopale du Massachusetts, a créé Lent Madness en 2010 sur son blogue. Deux ans plus tard, il s’est associé à Forward Movement et s’est adjoint un « co-conspirateur », le révérend Scott Gunn, directeur exécutif de Forward Movement. Depuis lors, Lent Madness est devenu si populaire parmi les chrétiens de toutes confessions que le site Web du tournoi attire habituellement environ 100 000 personnes pour une compétition entre trente deux saints.

Chaque jour, les supporteurs sont invités à voter pour l’un des deux saints proposés après s’être renseignés sur les saints en lisant leur biographie soigneusement préparée par Lent Madness. Jusqu’à 10 000 personnes votent chaque jour, déclare Scott Gunn, et les joueurs peuvent inscrire leurs résultats sur une fiche officielle intitulée Saintly Scorecard .

Tim Schenck et Scott Gunn n’approuvent pas les jeux d’argent mais les églises et autres organisations sont invitées à se servir des « bracket pools** » comme outils de collecte de fonds à but caritatif.

« Qui ne veut pas dire à tout le monde dans sa paroisse qu’il a gagné Lent Madness ? » conclut Tim Schenck.

Tim Schenck et Scott Gunn ont parlé à Episcopal News Service par téléphone le 22 mars, à l’approche de la finale de Lent Madness pour remporter le Golden Halo de cette année, le 12 avril, le mercredi avant Pâques.

Article complet en anglais.

* NDT : Lent Madness [La folie du Carême] se réfère à « March Madness », les très fameux paris sportifs sur les championnats de basket qui ont lieu chaque année en mars aux États-Unis.

** NDT : Les Bracket pools sont les grilles présentant toutes les équipes du championnat où les participants prédisent et parient sur les résultats de chaque match.

Disciplinary hearing for Los Angeles’ Bruno concludes without decision

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 8:22am

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno spent nearly seven hours March 29 and 30 talking to the Hearing Panel considering the disciplinary action against him. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Pasadena, California] Three days of testimony in the ecclesiastical disciplinary hearing for Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno ended here March 30 without a resolution.

Church Attorney Raymond “Jerry” Coughlan, appointed to represent the Episcopal Church, and Diocese of Los Angeles Chancellor Richard Zevnik did not make oral closing statements. They will submit written briefs for the Hearing Panel to consider before making its decision.

“I have no idea how long our decision will take but there are other canonical processes involved that could mean this could go on for a while,” Diocese of Southern Virginia Bishop Herman Hollerith IV, president of the Hearing Panel, told spectators at the end of the session. “This is not going to be something that is going to happen before Easter.”

The allegations detailed at the hearing stem from Bruno’s behavior during and after his unsuccessful 2015 attempt to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to a condominium developer for $15 million. Members of the church initially filed the disciplinary complaint against him.

Bruno is alleged to have violated Title IV Canon IV.4.1(g) by failing to exercise his ministry in accordance with applicable church canons (specifically Title II Canon II.6.3 requiring prior standing committee consent to any plan for a church or chapel to be “removed, taken down, or otherwise disposed of for worldly or common use”), Title IV Canon IV.4.1(h)(6) by engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation” and Title IV Canon IV.4.1(h)(8) for “conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.” The applicable subsections of Title IV Canon IV.4.1 begin on page 135 here.

The St. James the Great complainants allege that Bruno violated church canons because he:

  • failed to get the consent of the diocesan standing committee before entering into a contract to sell the property;
  • misrepresented his intention for the property to the members, the clergy and the local community at large;
  • misrepresented that St. James the Great was not a sustainable congregation;
  • misrepresented that the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, St. James’ vicar, had resigned;
  • misrepresented to some St. James members that he would lease the property back to them for a number of months and that the diocese would financially aid the church; and
  • engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy by “misleading and deceiving” the clergy and people of St. James, as well as the local community, about his plans for the property and for taking possession of the property and locking out the congregation.

The Rev. Canon Kelli-Grace Kurtz, convening chair of Los Angeles’ program group on missions, discusses with the Hearing Panel what the diocese requires of those congregations. She said the group classified St. James as a “mission station” and thus it had to comply with certain reporting requirements. The Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, St. James’ vicar, had testified that she reported verbally to Bruno and did not think she needed to submit those reports. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Bruno said in his response brief to the Hearing Panel that five of the allegations must be decided in his favor because “undisputed evidence establishes no canonical violation.” He said the sixth allegation concerning alleged misrepresentations to Voorhees presents conflicting evidence for the panel to weigh. However, he called it a “she said (he told me he wouldn’t sell the property), he said (I never said I wouldn’t sell the property) dichotomy.”

The Hearing Panel has a number of actions it can take, ranging from dismissal of the allegations to removing Bruno from his ordained ministry. Bruno or Coughlan would have 40 days to appeal the Hearing Panel’s decision to the Court of Review for Bishops.

March 30 began with Bruno spending nearly two hours answering questions from Coughlan and Zevnik about his March 28 testimony. The questions ranged over a number of topics aimed at understanding the bishop’s actions surrounding his attempt to sell St. James the Great, and his motivations for those actions. High on the list of motivations was providing money to fund the ongoing mission and ministry of the diocese.

Money was an issue, Bruno and other witnesses said because the diocese had spent more than $10 million on the lengthy litigation that eventually returned four properties to the diocese that had been held by disaffiliated Episcopalians. Bruno said the expense was worth it to set a precedent about church property ownership in the diocese and in the state. He went forward with the actions even after then-Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the presiding bishop’s chancellor, David Booth Beers, advised against it, he said.

Bruno and others discussed evidence showing that the sale of St. James was also one possible way for the diocese to have the money to buy the remaining interest in some commercial properties in Anaheim, California. Donors had bequeathed to the diocese a partial interest in those properties. The properties produce income for the diocese and the diocese also thought it might be able to sell the property near Angel Stadium. One document showed that the properties appraised at $140 million. The diocese has since borrowed the money to acquire a 100 percent interest in the properties.

Some of the other March 30 witnesses said Bruno also wanted to leave the diocese in good financial health when he retires. Bruno turns 72, the Episcopal Church’s mandatory retirement age for clergy, in late 2018. His successor, Bishop Coadjutor-Elect John Taylor, is due to be ordained and consecrated on July 8 of this year.

Diocesan Chief of Staff David Tumilty tells the Hearing Panel about Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno’s concerns over the financial health of the diocese and how those concerns informed his decisions about St. James. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

They said the diocese had been hard-hit not only by the litigation costs but also by the 2008 recession that came as the diocese was spending capital to pay for the litigation, according to diocesan Chief of Staff David Tumilty.

Tumilty said that spending resulted in staff cuts and cuts to programs such as one that provided counseling for priests. He also explained that the California “corporation sole” through which Bruno controlled some but not all of diocesan property and other assets was getting strapped by having frequently to cover operating deficits in what is known as the Mission Share Fund budget.

The need for recovering capital was a theme in the March 30 testimony. For instance, when Coughlan asked the bishop who now was liaison to the Anglican Communion Compass Rose Society, an $111,000 job that he had offered to Voorhees, Bruno said the job was unfilled. “I don’t have the money to have it now because I am paying for two years of litigation,” he said, referring to the Title IV proceedings.

“Whose fault is that?” a few members of the audience asked softly but clearly. Voorhees turned and hushed the audience and later Hollerith reminded spectators of his requirement that they not speak out.

Testimony March 30 also showed that the sale of St. James the Great caused controversy between at least two diocesan leaders. The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, committee president during 2015 and 2016, told the panel that then-Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool called her to inquire about a possible sale of St. James. McCarthy said Glasspool told her that, as standing committee president, McCarthy had a duty to block the sale. She said Glasspool gave her the name of another Episcopal diocesan chancellor in the state who could help her develop an argument against the sale.

The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy, who chaired the Diocese of Los Angeles’ Standing Committee during 2015 and 2016, tells the Hearing Panel about the committee’s actions surrounding Bruno’s attempted sale of the St. James the Great Episcopal Church property. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Glasspool planned to contact other Episcopal bishops about the sale, McCarthy said. After praying for a day, McCarthy said she contacted Bruno to tell him about the conversation because she found out that the bishop had confidentially disclosed the offer to buy St. James during a meeting of diocesan executive leadership.

“The bishop suffragan had called the president of the standing committee and enlisted her support to undermine what the bishop diocesan was doing,” McCarthy said, explaining her reason for calling Bruno. “And [because she] had broken his confidentiality, I felt like he needed to know.”

The standing committee approved Bruno’s effort to sell St. James during a special June 8, 2015, meeting more than two months after Bruno accepted the offer. The members gave their approval, she said, even though Bruno did not ask for it. Because the title to the property resided in the corporation sole, McCarthy said, Bruno believed he could act without their approval. McCarthy noted that her committee eventually would have to approve deconsecrating the church if the sale went through.

“We want to have some way to clearly show our support,” she said. “Unique circumstances” surrounded that decision because, by June 8, McCarthy said, “there had already been a social-media campaign launched” and other opposition to the sale had formed.

Moreover, McCarthy said, the committee knew the bishop was looking for ways to recoup the litigation costs and he was concerned about the financial shape of the diocese when he retired. Committee members also talked about how “a congregation and a building are two different things” and that the sale of the property was “in line with the plan that the bishop had had for a number of years.”

When Bruno formed the intention to sell St. James and whether and when he disclosed that intention to Voorhees and the members of St. James has been in dispute. Voorhees and others have insisted that they believed Bruno wanted them to revive St. James so that it could continue in the hard-won building.

The Title IV disciplinary process based on professional-conduct model
Although the Episcopal Church Title IV disciplinary canons in 2011 moved clergy disciplinary actions from a legalistic process to a professional-conduct model, many legal terms persist. For instance, Hollerith and the attorneys referred questioning as “cross-examination” and there were “objections” about some questions or whether certain “evidence” was “admissible.”

Clare Zabala-Bangoa, Diocese of Los Angeles coordinator for mission congregations, tells the Hearing Panel about her efforts to have St. James’ lay leaders and the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, the vicar, file required monthly financial reports. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

However, the ultimate goal, according Title IV’s introduction (page 131 here), is that “the Church and each Diocese shall support their members in their life in Christ and seek to resolve conflicts by promoting healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among all involved or affected.”

Each day’s session began and ended with prayer led by Hearing Panel member the Rev. Erik Larsen of Rhode Island. The opening prayer concluded with all participants and onlookers saying the Lord’s Prayer aloud in unison. At the end of the March 30 afternoon session, Larsen prayed that God would guide the panel to “discern the truth and find your will for us as we move forward.” Larsen prayed that as that discernment continued and people waited on the outcome that “above all we would not lose the charity that you reveal in your son Jesus.”

Hollerith concluded the session with a blessing and liturgical dismissal.

In addition to Hollerith and Larsen, the members of the Hearing Panel considering the allegations against Bruno include Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely, North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, and Deborah Stokes of Southern Ohio. All are members of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, which appointed them.

The Hearing Panel met at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Pasadena, about 90 minutes northeast of Newport Beach. Save St. James the Great organized buses to travel to and from the hearing each day. Close to 120 people at times sat in the gallery during the daily sessions.

Previous ENS coverage of the hearing is here.

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

L’eau : bien commun ou marchandise ?

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 7:17am

[Episcopal News Service] La demande en eau devrait augmenter de 55 % d’ici 2030, selon les prévisions et, dans le même temps, il est possible que les ressources globales en eau ne répondent qu’à 60 % des besoins mondiaux.

« L’Afrique, l’Inde, le Moyen-Orient et l’Australie sont en crise », a déclaré Maude Barlow, ancienne conseillère principale aux Nations Unies, responsable de la question de l’eau et auteure, militante politique et critique politique. Certains disent que « la solution à la crise de l’eau est la marchandisation de l’eau », a-t-elle ajouté, lors de la séance du 23 mars sur le thème : « l’eau : bien commun ou marchandise », dans le cadre de la conférence mondiale intitulée Water Justice, qui s’est tenue du 22 au 24 mars à Trinity Church Wall Street à New York et par webcast au niveau mondial.

Le révérend Brandon Mauai, diacre du diocèse du Dakota du Nord et membre de la Nation sioux de Standing Rock a parlé de l’appui de l’Église épiscopale à la Nation sioux de Standing Rock, elle et ses alliés ayant lutté contre le tracé de l’oléoduc de Dakota Access. Photo : Leo Sorel/Trinity Wall Street

Le but de la conférence était de présenter des directives pour encourager les initiatives individuelles, des congrégations et la communauté de foi au sens large, en faveur d’une « justice de l’eau »,  dans les domaines de l’accès à l’eau, de la sécheresse, de la pollution, de l’élévation du niveau des mers et des inondations. Water Justice est la 46e conférence annuelle organisée par Trinity Institute, les conférences passées ayant traité de justice raciale et d’inégalité économique.

Si les Grands Lacs, le plus vaste système d’eau douce de surface sur terre, « étaient pompés aussi impitoyablement que les eaux souterraines, ils seraient asséchés en 80 ans », avertit Maude Barlow. La Mer d’Aral en Russie, jadis le quatrième plus grand lac d’eau douce au monde, est à présent réduite à 10 % de sa dimension antérieure. La moitié des eaux de Chine, pays riche en eau, ont disparu. Sao Paulo, la deuxième plus grande ville du monde, est frappée par la sécheresse parce que la destruction rapide de la forêt tropicale d’Amazonie a diminué les nuages de vapeur d’eau qui transportaient l’eau jusqu’au centre et au sud du Brésil.

Tout ceci se produit, explique Maude Barlow, alors que les sociétés, les gouvernements et la Banque mondiale envisagent un marché mondial de l’eau, avec à terme des contrats pour vendre l’eau comme le pétrole et le gaz.

« [L’eau] est-elle un droit de l’homme, un bien d’intérêt public ou un actif privé ? » demande Maude Barlow.

Comme l’a souligné Christiana Zenner Peppard, professeure à Fordham University, théologienne et spécialiste de l’eau douce, dans sa réponse à l’intervention de Maude Barlow, un être humain ne peut survivre au delà de sept jours sans eau.

L’« eau n’est pas remplaçable par quoi que ce soit d’autre, c’est le référentiel pour les systèmes humain, écologique et planétaire », poursuit-elle. « On ne peut pas parler d’eau et de justice comme de deux choses séparées ».

En termes de valeurs et d’éthique religieuses de l’eau : « elle est fondamentale à la vie et comprise comme une ressource finie » et, pour le moins du point de vue chrétien, l’accès à l’eau signifie se préoccuper des « plus petits d’entre nous ».

À la suite de l’intervention de Maude Barlow et de la réponse de Christiana Peppard, le public présent à Trinity a écouté les récits de trois intervenants confrontés à trois formes très différentes de crises de l’eau.

Trois ans après la crise de l’eau à Flint (État du Michigan), les habitants continuent à dépendre de l’eau en bouteille pour leurs besoins en boissons et hygiène, a déclaré Nakiya Wakes, militante et porte-parole de Flint Rising, une coalition d’organisations communautaires qui préparent les habitants de Flint pour le long terme.

« On nous a menti pendant trop longtemps et nous n’avons pas confiance en notre gouvernement », a-t-elle expliqué. « Cela fait trois ans que nous buvons de l’eau en bouteille… nous n’avons pas accès à l’eau potable aux États-Unis d’Amérique. Ils appellent le Michigan « Pure Michigan » et nous sommes purement empoisonnés ».

Le révérend Brandon Mauai, diacre du diocèse du Dakota du Nord et membre de la Nation sioux de Standing Rock a parlé de l’appui de l’Église épiscopale à la Nation sioux de Standing Rock, elle et ses alliés ayant lutté contre le tracé de l’oléoduc de Dakota Access. Le tracé de l’oléoduc de 1 885 km passait à l’origine près de Bismarck (État du Dakota du Nord) mais a été modifié après que les habitants ont exprimé leur préoccupation par rapport à un accident qui contaminerait l’eau potable de la ville. Au lieu de cela, l’oléoduc passe sous le fleuve Missouri au lac Oahe, réservoir qui fournit l’eau pour la réserve de Standing Rock et d’autres en aval.

En septembre 2016, des fonctionnaires fédéraux ont interrompu la construction de l’oléoduc sur les terres bordant ou sous le lac Oahe qui appartiennent à l’Army Corps of Engineers des États-Unis, l’agence fédérale chargée des autorisations sur les terres publiques et les voies fluviales. En décembre, le président Barack Obama a bloqué la construction sur le segment contesté de l’oléoduc.

« Nous allons continuer à parler à quiconque nous écoutera. L’Église continuera à jouer un rôle actif, nous avons participé activement au nettoyage… nous continuerons à faire ce que la tribu a besoin que nous fassions en tant qu’Église, nous serons là pour apporter une aide de toutes les façons possibles », a-t-il déclaré.

Des milliers d’épiscopaliens ont rejoint ceux qui soutiennent la Nation sioux, le plus récemment pour la manifestation et rassemblement Native Nations Rise, le 10 mars à Washington.

L’archevêque Winston Halapua, l’un des trois primats de l’Église anglicane en Polynésie et à Aotearoa en Nouvelle-Zélande, responsables des congrégations samoanes, tongiennes, indo-fidjiennes et fidjiennes, a parlé de son enfance et comment il a grandi à Tonga, où sa vie était synchronisée avec le cycle des marées.

La montée du niveau de la mer continue à engloutir des îles entières dans le Pacifique, où l’Église anglicane d’Aotearoa en Nouvelle-Zélande et de Polynésie établit une « stratégie claire de résilience » pour renforcer ses moyens face à de futures catastrophes naturelles dans les îles du Pacifique.

« L’eau est le reflet de Dieu, vous et moi ne vivons pas sans eau », a conclu Winston Halapua.

Article complet en anglais.

Filipino group urges Canada to hold mining companies accountable

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 9:38am

[Anglican Journal] A delegation from the Philippines that includes an Anglican bishop wants the government to appoint an ombudsperson to monitor Canadian mining operations overseas and to support formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front.

“We want the Canadian people to hear our story and we want that foreign corporations operating in the Philippines, especially Canadian mining companies, be held accountable for their complicity in human rights violations against our people,” said Bishop Antonio Ablon, speaking at a news conference on Parliament Hill March 23.

Full article.

Growth in two very different Maryland congregations, similar strategies

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 9:19am

[Diocese of Maryland] The Rev. Margarita Santana didn’t know how many people would show up for her first Sunday at the Iglesia de la Resurrección on Baltimore, Maryland’s eastside, but she thought there would be more than eight.

“I was very surprised,” said Santana, who splits her time as vicar and Latino missioner for the Diocese of Maryland.

Now, almost five years later, 65 people might show up on a good Sunday for the Spanish-language service.

A similar phoenix-like story is playing out 50 miles north of Santana at St. John’s in Havre de Grace. There, Pat Hopkins, junior warden, remembers a Sunday when six people showed up, three in the pews and three in the choir. In February, 100 people showed up for the Maryland Bishop Eugene T. Sutton’s visitation.

“It was really, really one of those extraordinary moments that one has in the ministry,” said the Rev. T. James Snodgrass, priest-in-charge. “It was glorious. You could just feel it. The congregation was overflowing. They were just joyful.”

In both cases, a focus on mission, hospitality and being part of the neighborhood helped spark the revival. Outdoor services and picnics are regular events. Santana’s first Sunday led her to engage in some old-fashioned shoe-leather ministry.

“We walked around the neighborhood to see the people,” said Santana, who is from the Dominican Republic. “We knocked on doors and had flyers in Spanish.”

But the church did not have a sign in Spanish. That changed after a visit by Sutton.

“He asked me, ‘What do you want me to do? What do you need?’” said Santana. “I said, ‘Bishop. We need a sign.’”

“Misa en Espanol” (Mass in Spanish), it read. And the people responded.

“When I ask [newcomers] how did you come here. They say, ‘I saw the sign,’” said Santana, who has learned to navigate the cultural currents of her parish. Membership includes immigrants from at least 10 countries in the Latin American diaspora.

The Rev. Lew Bradford joined Santana last year as deacon. He, too, is learning the different cultures at Resurrección as he improves his Spanish.

“You need to be sure that everybody feels included,” said Bradford, who will be ordained a priest later this year.  “And I think you have to have the attitude that Margarita has, to be positive.”

Around the time Santana was knocking on doors near Resurrección, the people at St. John’s were asking themselves if their church, founded in 1809, was going to close its doors. Attendance had dwindled. The $600,000-plus endowment was down to $11,000.

“It was depressing. I remember one day praying for a sign,” said Jan Biondo, senior warden at that time. Then the phone rang. A local church was looking to rent worship space. “That was my sign that God wanted to keep us open.”

Snodgrass arrived about a year later, bringing with him nearly 40 years of ministry experience. And, because he had full-pension benefits and was part time, he didn’t bring the financial obligations that cripple many small churches.

Slowly, a turn-around began. The finances stabilized. The church has even started a $1.6 million capital campaign. Already known for participating in ecumenical outreach programs, St. John’s began its own ministry to feed and help those in need.

“It means as much to us as to the people who come here,” said Hopkins, who once wondered where she would go if St. John’s closed. “We wanted to keep the church open, but it was very bleak. Now? It’s great to see the change and the enthusiasm.”

Hospitality and mission are two of the reasons Sandra Capezio decided to join St. John’s. Now about 60 people show up for Sunday worship.

“To me [mission] is the heart of the church and what it represents,” she said. “You want to make a difference, and you want to make it through Christ.”

Santana and Snodgrass point to the combination of time, dedicated pastoral ministry and a sense of purpose within the community as key growth factors.

“You hope. But you don’t know. But you do everything you can to open up for the Spirit and then get out of the way,” said Snodgrass. “But you prepare. You work. You till the soil. Then you pray that if it’s God’s will, God will give the growth.”

— The Rev. M. Dion Thompson is a priest in the Diocese of Maryland.