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Prayer and solidarity after another terror attack on Coptic Christians

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:12am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglican church leaders have expressed their prayerful solidarity with the Coptic Church after the latest terror attack in Egypt on May 26 left 29 Christians dead. A further 24 people were injured in the attack in the Minya region, which targeted pilgrims who were visiting the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor. Daesh has claimed responsibility.

Full article.

Anglicans, Roman Catholics agree on ecclesiology statement

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 11:08am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans and Roman Catholics should see in each other “a community in which the Holy Spirit is alive and active,” the latest communiqué from the official ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church says.

Full article.

German Protestant Kirchentag opens with call for renewal of global order

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:57am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Former U.S. President Barack Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in front of tens of thousands of people on May 25, the first full day of Germany’s biggest Protestant gathering, the Kirchentag, or “church festival.” Obama and Merkel participated in a 90-minute podium discussion on democracy and global responsibility.

Full article.

Anglican agency pledges solidarity with Philippines church following bishop’s arrest

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:54am

[Anglican Communion News Service] United Society Partners in the Gospel, the Anglican mission agency, is standing in solidarity alongside the Philippines Independent Church following the arrest of a bishop on what it describes as “the spurious charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.”

The Rt. Rev. Carlo Morales, bishop of Ozamis – together with his wife, aide and driver – were arrested by police earlier this month.

Full article.

Anglican Church playing key role in tackling malaria in southern Africa

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 4:23pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishops of Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe took part in recent World Malaria Day events along the shared borders between the four countries.

As Southern African countries move closer to malaria elimination, increased community and church involvement is needed to identify and treat every last case of malaria, and to provide trusted malaria education on how the disease is spread and how to prevent it. Ministers of health emphasized the important role of the Anglican Church in ending malaria for good.

Full article.

Christians condemn declaration of martial law in Mindanao in southern Philippines

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 4:20pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Christian Conference of Asia, or CCA, has expressed serious concerns about the declaration of martial law on May 23 in Mindanao in southern Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The CCA, a fellowship of churches and ecumenical councils in Asia, issued a statement calling on President Duterte to lift the martial law, which subjects the people of southern Philippines to curfews, checkpoints and other restraints on their human rights.

Full article.

California diocese hosts eco-justice conversation

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 3:39pm

California Bishop Marc Andrus, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, far right, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, pose with confirmands during an EcoConfirmation service at the Presidio of San Francisco on May 20. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – San Francisco, California] “The work of saving God’s creation is nothing less than the work of God.” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spoke these words during a May 19 sermon framing creation care in terms of the Jesus Movement here at Grace Cathedral.

“This is God’s world,” he said, encouraging those present to affirm and to encourage one another in the care of God’s creation.

“I am convinced that God came among us in Jesus to show us the way to not just become the human family, but the family of God. And that’s why we’re here because the environment, no, the creation, is part of the family of God … God’s family is the entire created world and universe.”

The Episcopal Church has witnessed the presiding bishop’s thoughts on the Jesus Movement unfold in his dynamic preaching and speaking since he took office in November 2015. His May 19 sermon, put creation care and environmental justice squarely in that context.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached during a May 19 eco-justice Eucharist at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The presiding bishop preached to an interfaith congregation in a packed cathedral as part of a larger eco-justice conversation on safeguarding climate, food and water hosted by the Diocese of California May 18-20. On May 18, the cathedral held a benefit conference for the St. Barnabas Center for Agriculture, an Episcopal college in northern Haiti, and two Bay Area environmental groups. A May 19 panel discussion explored climate change’s effects on agriculture and food security. Lastly, on the morning of May 20, Curry presided at an EcoConfirmation service.

The conversation came at a time when the Trump administration has sought to gut environmental regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting air and water resources. The administration also is reviewing public lands and national monuments, considering opening them to oil and gas drilling, and has promised to revive the coal mining industry.

The Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention prioritized evangelism, reconciliation and creation care; to address the latter it created an Advisory Council for the Care of the Stewardship of Creation and authorized the creation of liturgical resources for honoring God in creation.

The eco-justice conversation sought to further engage Episcopalians in environmental issues, including water- and food-security, and environmental justice, particularly following on the Episcopal Church’s solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in its opposition to the North Dakota Access Pipeline’s route through tribal lands and beneath the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. A reservoir, Lake Oahe provides water to the Standing Rock reservation and others downstream. Indigenous nations across the United States and worldwide came together in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, and along with climate activists, environmentalists and others, including many Episcopalians, in its challenge to the pipeline. Leaks have been detected along a feeder line and the main pipeline, which is scheduled to begin full operation June 1.

The Episcopal Church, through its Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations and the Episcopal Public Policy Network, using Church policy as a guide, advocates for the care of creation at the local, national and international level.

California Bishop Marc Andrus moderated an eco-justice panel discussion at Grace Cathedral on May 19. Panelists included from left, Nicolette Hahn Niman, a writer and rancher; Aaron Grizzell, executive director of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Foundation; the Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff, founder of Honoré Farm and Mill in Marin County, California; Jayce Hafner, the Episcopal Church’s domestic policy analyst; and Grace Aheron, an activist and board member of Cultivate: The Episcopal Food Movement. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“Policy and faith, it doesn’t seem like it’s a natural correlation at first. I find that as I work with members of the Episcopal Church and visit different dioceses and parishes I get questioned a lot, people will say ‘we have these incredible ministries at our church, we [our building] is energy efficient … why do we need to advocate on top of that, why do we need to get political,’” said Jayce Hafner, the Church’s domestic policy analyst during the May 19 panel discussion.

“I would say that there’s a difference between getting political and policy advocacy. Policy advocacy allows us to close the loop between the impactful programmatic work that we are doing to make sure that it reaches the halls of power. Because when you look at injustice in our country, especially in the environmental realm, policy is an incredible tool for promoting systematic injustice or spreading justice for our people and our planet.”

Curry framed it this way in his sermon: Humanity’s hope and salvation lies in a vision of God’s world that is not a nightmare. And he called on those present at the cathedral and the Episcopal Church to praise God not just in their worship but by safeguarding the water and the air.

“This is not secular do-goodism that we do, this is the Jesus Movement … Jesus came to show us how to become God’s family and in that is our hope and our salvation” said Curry. “This is the Jesus Movement and we are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement and nothing on Earth can stop that movement.”

The EcoConfirmation included a “Cosmic Walk,” a meditation on the history of creation beginning with the Big Bang 14 billion years ago and the formation of the Earth’s atmosphere, through the emergence of homo sapiens, the writing of the Bible and Jesus’s birth to the discovery of gold in California in 1848 and oil becoming a major industry in the state in the early 20th century to 1969, when humans first viewed the Earth from space. Alisa Rasera served as the cosmic walker. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The following day, some 40 confirmands affirmed their Christian beliefs as full members of the Episcopal Church. The confirmands – many of them students at the Cathedral School for Boys – gathered with other Episcopalians among the cedar, cypress and eucalyptus trees at the Presidio’s Golden Gate Overlook. A dense fog made invisible the Golden Gate Bridge and fog horns sounded in the distance.

It was the fourth EcoConfirmation in the Diocese of California, set apart from a tradition confirmation by three additional words added to the Baptismal Covenant’s fifth and final question: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of the Earth and every human being?”

“As [California] Bishop Marc [Andrus] pointed out, there really is only one short change to the liturgy in the BCP [Book of Common Prayer], it emphasizes that we are in communion with all of God’s creation and in addition to the things we normally promise ourselves to,” said the Rev. Melanie Mullen, the Episcopal Church’s director of reconciliation, justice and creation care, in an interview with ENS during the EcoConfirmation.

“Overall, the work of the Jesus Movement includes creation care,” she said. By developing liturgical resources for honoring God in creation “we are learning how to pray the words of all of God’s creation into what we’re doing.”

It helps, said Mullen, to take the service outside.

It was Curry’s first outdoor confirmation, and it was “wonderful,” he said. “In the beginning of creation, it’s the spirit of God that broods over the chaos and brings order and creation, and to do confirmation out here in the wilderness, celebrating and giving God thanks for creation … confirmation is calling forth that same spirit that called forth the creation to call forth new life in those who are confirmed so that the risen Christ lives anew even in us. That’s awesome!”

Caren Miles, the Diocese of California’s associate for faith formation, takes a selfie following the EcoConfirmation. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Presidio of San Francisco, a former U.S. military fort, is part of the National Park Service. The site, at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, was chosen for the view (on a clear day) of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. It was also chosen because it’s “an example of man carving into nature in preparation for a war that never came, and then nature reclaiming the land,” said Caren Miles, the diocese’s associate for faith formation, who planned the service.

The Diocese of California and Andrus have long been involved climate change and environmental justice advocacy; Andrus has represented the presiding bishop at the United Nations climate negotiations, both in Paris, France, and Marrakesh, Morocco, and at the signing of the Paris Agreement.

Gordon and Trillian Gilmore, members of St. Michael and All Angels Church/Holy Spirt Church in Concord, California, embrace while sharing a moment of wonder. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

During the EcoConfirmation service, California Bishop Marc Andrus asked the people present to contemplate wonder and the natural world.

“Wonder can guide us into deeper relatedness with nature, it is God’s gift from the beginning of the universe to help us become connected to each other, to the world and to God,” said Andrus, before inviting the congregation to contemplate a moment of wonder, what they experienced and how the moment changed them.

For Gordon Gilmore, his moment of wonder was when he first came to California. He was driving along Highway 37 and saw the sun setting on the pickleweed marshes. The road traces a crescent along the north shore of around San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco and through a national wildlife refuge created more than 40 years ago to protect migratory birds and wetland habitat.

Gilmore’s wife, Trillian Gilmore, also chose the sunset as her moment of wonder. For her, it was driving west through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and watching the sun set multiple times over 45 minutes as she rounded the mountain’s peaks.

“It was beautiful,” she said.

-Lynette Wilson is managing editor of Episcopal News Service.

WCC calls for Pentecost global day of prayer for ‘just peace’ in the Holy Land

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 3:36pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians are invited to participate this Pentecost in a global prayer campaign to call for peace in the Holy Land.

The World Council of Churches, through a campaign called “Come, Spirit of Peace: A Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land,” is calling on Christians everywhere to unite in prayer on June 4 and 5 – by attending its worship service in Jerusalem, holding services in their home parishes or sharing individual prayers on social media.

“We are calling on Christians everywhere to share in our witness to unity and to use this moment as a focus for prayers for peace in the Holy Land,” the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, the ecumenical organization’s general secretary, said in a news release. “Our vision is to make this moment of prayer truly participatory.”

The main worship service in the prayer campaign will be held at 11 a.m. June 5, the day after Pentecost, in Jerusalem on Mount Zion. Afterward, at a session in Dormiton Abbey, participants will share details of their work in support of peace in the Holy Land.

For those unable to travel to Jerusalem, the World Council of Churches has made it easy to participate back home by offering an order of services in several languages, which can be incorporated into the liturgy for Pentecost or at separate services, said the Rev. Robert Edmunds, Middle East partnership officer for the Episcopal Church.

“It’s great to say, let’s go pray for peace in the Holy Land, but providing the resources and tools to bring that message home to various parishes around the country, around the Church, is a great asset,” Edmunds told Episcopal News Service.

Pentecost is described in the Acts of the Apostles as the day when a great wind brought “tongues of fire” that enabled Jesus’ disciples to communicate the gospel message to people in their native languages.

The prayer campaign comes as Israel prepares to mark 50 years since the 1967 war that resulted in the capture of east Jerusalem. Israel typically marks the anniversary as a celebration of the unification of the holy city, while Palestinians see it as the beginning of an Israeli occupation.

The stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process also has been in the news recently because President Donald Trump, who visited Jerusalem this week on his first foreign trip as president, vowed to succeed where his predecessors have failed.

“Making peace, however, will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal,” Trump said May 23 in a speech in Jerusalem after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, separately, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Edmunds said he also sees the importance of the World Council of Churches’ prayer campaign in the context of violence across the region, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen, including violence specifically targeting Christians.

“All these places are seeing terrible devastation,” Edmunds said. “Anything we can do to prompt peace-thinking rather than war-thinking is a positive thing. It’s about turning hearts away from violence.”

The campaign also is compiling prayers that people share by email and post to social media with the hashtag #SpiritofPeace. The online prayer wall is live, adding the latest prayers for peace.

“We’ll raise our voices to sing, our feet will dance wherever there are signs of life around us,” reads one tweet from the World Council of Churches that has been retweeted several times.

Pray for the #HolyLand "We'll raise our voices to sing, our feet will dance wherever there are signs of life around us" #SpiritOfPeace #WCC

— WCC Prayers (@WCCprayers) May 24, 2017

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention has expressed its support of peace in the region for decades. As one example, a 2012 resolution sought to “reaffirm this Church’s commitment to a negotiated two-state solution in which a secure and universally recognized State of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people, with a shared Jerusalem as the capital of both.”

And in a 2015 resolution, the Church pledged to be “an agent of reconciliation and restorative justice in the Holy Land by promoting conversation and by funding infrastructure and peace-building ministries in Palestine and Israel through the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East.”

With Pentecost to be celebrated on June 4, it’s an ideal time to get Christians of all denominations and languages involved in that effort, Edmunds said.

“How appropriate is that for Pentecost – a day in which people understood what was being said even though the languages at the time … were many,” he said.

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

Presiding Bishop’s video leads worldwide prayer campaign Thy Kingdom Come

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 5:42pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] On May 25, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry leads the Thy Kingdom Come videos for the Worldwide Anglican Communion. Thy Kingdom Come is a campaign initiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby calling for prayer by individuals, congregations and families.

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day – May 25 – and Pentecost – June 4 – for more people to come to know Jesus.  #ThyKingdomCome

Presiding Bishop Curry’s video is also here.

#ToJesus – The Most Reverend Michael Curry – 25 May 2017 from Thy Kingdom Come on Vimeo.

A new inspirational video message featuring a different religious leader each day will be presented throughout Thy Kingdom Come.

  • May 25 #ToJesus: The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate, the Episcopal Church
  • May 26 #Praise: His Eminence Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna
  • May 27 #Thanks: The Most Rev. Paul Kwong, archbishop of Hong Kong
  • May 28 #Sorry: The Ven. Liz Adekunle, archdeacon of Hackney, London
  • May 29 #Offer: The Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, bishop of Cuba
  • May 30 #PrayFor: The Most. Rev. Fred Hiltz, archbishop and primate, the Anglican Church of Canada
  • May 31 #Help: The Most Rev. John Sentamu, archbishop of York and primate of England
  • June 1 #Adore: The Rev. Roger Walton, president, British Methodist Conference
  • June 2 #Celebrate: His Grace Bishop Angaelos, general bishop, the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
  • June 3 #Silence: Br. Keith Nelson, the Society of St. John the Evangelist
  • June 4 #ThyKingdomCome: The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and primate of All England

All videos will be available here


Sign-up to participate in Pledge2Pray here or here.

Prayer resources for individuals, congregations and/or families can be downloaded at no fee here.

Resources and information

A wide selection of resources and information are available to participate in many ways in Thy Kingdom Come:

• Episcopal Church and Thy Kingdom Come here

• Thy Kingdom Come here

• Prayer resources that can be downloaded at no fee are here

• Join the Facebook page here

• A Prayer Journal to record thoughts, prayers and ideas throughout Thy Kingdom Come; for young people and adults. Download at no fee here.

• “Episcopal Church’s sense of prayer aids ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ campaign” by Episcopal News Service here

Water access in Zimbabwe key theme at roundtable discussion

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 4:23pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A roundtable discussion on Zimbabwe has taken place at Lambeth Palace, drawing together a group that included the Bishop of Matabeleland, a representative of the British Foreign Office and a water supply expert who has worked extensively in a number of African countries.

Full article.

Presiding Bishop preaches on ‘forgiveness, repentance, healing and reconciliation’ in Haiti

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 4:52pm

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry (center), Bishop of Haiti Jean Zache Duracin (left) and Bishop Suffragan of Haiti Ogé Beauvoir (right), talk before the solemn Eucharist on Tuesday, May 23 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The bishops and members of the Diocesan Standing Committee ceremoniously signed a covenant aimed at healing and reconciling the diocese. Photo: Michael Hunn

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached a sermon “on the occasion of the liturgical signing of the covenant of reconciliation” on May 23 at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. All clergy in the diocese attended the special liturgy.

“Mutual forgiveness and repentance, healing and reconciliation are hard work and they often take time. Healing and reconciliation do not happen quickly. But it happens, if we are willing, to allow God’s grace to work in us, for God’s grace is sufficient. God is able,” said Curry in his sermon.

On April 24, the Episcopal Church announced that Curry, Haiti Bishop Jean Zache Duracin, Haiti Bishop Suffragan Ogé Beauvoir and the diocesan Standing Committee had entered a covenant agreement that “seeks to address and resolve many of the issues of conflict that have been burdening the diocese.”

The May 23 liturgy included a formal signing of the covenant, which took effect in April.

Sermon on the Occasion of the Liturgical Signing of Covenant of Reconciliation
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti
The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:16-20


My brothers and sisters, I greet you, in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I likewise bring you the greetings of your brothers and sisters in Christ who are, with you, the Episcopal Church, or, better yet, the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

I give our God thanks for you, for the faithful ministries of clergy and lay people here. For you the clergy of this diocese, for the people of the the churches, parishes and missions, for all of the schools which educate new generations of children, for clinics and hospitals which care for the sick, for ministries like St. Vincent’s School for the Handicapped, the Center for Agriculture of St. Barnabas,  the Music School of Holy Trinity, for the ministries you and many share with groups like Episcopal Relief and Development, Fresh Ministries, Food for the Poor, Heifer International, Episcopal University of Haiti, and many, many more.

But I want to add a special word of thanks, and thanksgiving to Almighty God. In the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5-7, the Lord Jesus taught us that the way of love is often realized in our willingness to go the second mile, sometimes when it hurts. The way of love, Jesus taught us, is the way of the cross, willingness to sacrifice self-interest, and even self, for the good of others.  That is the way of Jesus. And he is our Lord! And we are his followers, his disciples.

And you,
the Reverend Clergy of this blessed Diocese,
you, the Standing Committee,
you, Chancellors and other clergy and lay leaders of the Church here,
and especially you, my beloved brother bishops,
Bishop Zache Duracin, Bishop Oge Beauvoir,
you in this Covenant have been willing to go the extra mile, as Jesus taught us.
For the good of the people, for the good of the nation and for the good of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.
You have sacrificed self-interest for the good of all.
You have been willing to begin the hard and difficult work of healing.
You have been willing through this Covenant to open the way that leads to reconciliation.

I thank you. And to God be the glory!

It was on the cross, as he was dying, that our Lord Jesus forgave even those who had tortured and crucified him. “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Our beloved brother, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, has shown us that Jesus teaches us from the cross that forgiveness is the way to a new future. He says that without forgiveness there is no future.

Mutual forgiveness and repentance, healing and reconciliation are hard work and they often take time. Healing and reconciliation do not happen quickly. But it happens, if we are willing, to allow God’s grace to work in us, for God’s grace is sufficient. God is able.

And through this Covenant we — Bishop Duracin, Bishop Beauvoir, the Standing Committee, the Reverend Clergy, and I, as your Presiding Bishop, all of us together, we take this step in which we each repent for any way we have hurt each other,  we take a step toward mutual forgiveness, a step toward God’s healing, a step toward reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. This I commit to do, and I pray and believe you join me in that.

Now we are not perfect. We will make mistakes along the way. But if we press on, following this way of Jesus, walking together, upholding each other, we will make it because God’s power, working in us can do more than we can ask or imagine.  And this world needs our witness.  People need to know the power of God to heal, to forgive, to reconcile and rebuild. People need to know the power of our faith as we press on toward the Kingdom of God.

As St. Paul said in Philippians.

Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)


So why does this matter? To Haiti? To the world? Pay attention to the roots, the source, the origin. The key is always there, in the roots.

I recently went on a pilgrimage to Ghana in West Africa. I’ve been to Ghana before, but I had not been to the slave camps, or to the castles where newly captured people, imprisoned and then boarded on ships for sale and slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean.

At the site of the slave camps, evidence of what happened there is still visible. Bowls for food chiseled in the rock, by the slaves, hundreds of years ago, are still there. Water wells dug in the ground, are still there. Burial grounds for those who died, are still there. In the oral tradition of our ancestors who told the story of what happened there, passing the story down from generation to generation, you can see and hear the cries of our African forbearers, longing to breathe free.

And then there were the trees standing in the field surrounding the slave camps. People were tied to those trees at night. Those trees saw it all. Those trees, still there, are witnesses to what happened. Those trees, like the tree that became a cross, bear witness.

One of the trees, on which undoubtedly hundreds of enslaved people were tied had a root system underneath it, the likes of which I have never seen. The roots above the soil were large and thick. And you could see them digging down into the soil where the minerals and sources of life are to be found. The roots of the tree are the key to the life of the tree.

The prophet Jeremiah said it this way:

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8


The roots of that old African tree are the keys to its life. The roots of this Diocese will be the keys to its life and future. And the roots of this Diocese are in Jesus Christ who said:

“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and risen from the dead, he is the root, he and his way are the keys to the future of the Diocese of Haiti and to the entire Episcopal Church.  Jesus is the root which anchors us when the storms of life threaten to tear us down.


So why does this work of reconciliation, this covenant, matter? It’s all about that roots. The roots of that old African tree are the keys to its life. The roots of this Diocese will be the keys to its life and future.

When I met with the Bishop and Standing Committee last summer, we met in the conference room of Diocesan House. When I sat down in my seat I happened to look across the room. There, on the wall, was the famous portrait of Bishop James Theodore Holly, first Bishop of this Diocese.

When I saw that portrait it brought to mind a deep childhood memory. My father was an Episcopal priest. And like many priests of African descent in the Episcopal Church in those days, he had copies of the books of Father George Freeman Bragg, Jr.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Dr. Bragg, the Rector of St. James’ Baltimore, chronicled the history of sons and daughters of Africa in the Episcopal Church.

When I was a child I use to play in my father’s study. And I remember thumbing through his books. One of the pictures and biographies was that picture of Bishop James Theodore Holly. I’ve been seeing that picture of him since I was a very little child. And he has long been a hero to me.

Still longer, Bishop Holly is a hero and saint here, now one of the saints and worthies on the official calendar of our Episcopal Church.  One whose witness to the strength of Jesus, and whose hope in a new future for the people of this beautiful island still nurtures the growth of this diocese and also the Episcopal Church itself.

Soon after Bishop Holly left the United States and moved here, 43 members of the group who immigrated with the Bishop died from yellow fever and malaria, including his wife and some of his children. But he and others stayed. Bishop Holly loved Haiti, and the government eventually made him a Haitian citizen. And he is buried here in Haiti.

At some point in his ministry, Bishop Holly returned to the United States to raise funds and gather support in the wider Episcopal Church for the Church in Haiti. In one lecture he made the case for their continuing to financially support the work. The title of the lecture was, “A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government, and Civilized Progress as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haitian Revolution.”

He reminded his audience that under the leadership of Toussaint L’ Overture the people of Haiti, brought here as slaves had done something incredible. In the American Revolution most of the American colonists had at least some semblance of freedom before the American Revolution. They were colonists, not slaves.  But the Haitian Revolution was a revolution of people who were slaves. And like the Hebrews under Moses in the Bible, they sought and won their freedom.

Bishop Holly said it this way:

The revolution in Haiti “is one of the noblest, grandest, and most justifiable outbursts against tyrannical oppression that is recorded on the pages of the world’s history.

A race of almost dehumanized men — made so by an oppressive slavery of three centuries — arose from their slumber of ages, and redressed their own unparalleled wrongs with a terrible hand in the name of God and humanity.”

“In the name of God and humanity.” There in that voice, there in those words, there in the spirit of James Theodore Holly who lived for this Church and this land, there are the roots of this diocese.

The roots of this diocese are in Bishop Holly’s fervent desire that the loving, liberating and life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ should be proclaimed among the descendants of Africa here in Haiti.

The roots of this Diocese are in Bishop Holly’s passionate conviction that following the way of Jesus the Church here might help the people and nation of Haiti to rise up and to claim the high calling among the nations of the earth.

But ultimately the roots of this Diocese are in the one of whom Isaiah prophesied when he said:

“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1

 The roots of this Diocese are in Jesus Christ who died, and was raised from the dead, by the loving power of our God, who the Bible says, makes all things new.

So, standing firm, rooted in the faith of Christ Jesus, let the Diocese of Haiti rise up and reach out anew!

Rise up, reach out and go, make disciples of all nations.

Rise up, reach out and go, proclaiming the Good New of Jesus to all creation.

So keep on preaching the Gospel.

Keep on teaching the children.

Keep on healing the sick.

Keep on feeding the hungry.

Keep on loving the orphans.

Keep on standing with the poor.

And always remember, you do not do this alone. Your fellow Episcopalians stand with you.

For we are not simply the Episcopal Church. Together we are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. And Jesus promised, “I will be with you always, even to the close of the age.

God love you. God bless you. And you keep the faith. Amen!

Les épiscopaliens et les méthodistes proposent un accord de pleine communion

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 4:01pm

Le Comité du dialogue Église épiscopale – Église méthodiste unie s’est réuni en avril à Charlotte (État de Caroline du Nord).

Un groupe d’épiscopaliens et de méthodistes a rendu publique sa proposition visant à une pleine communion entre les deux confessions.

La mise en œuvre intégrale de la proposition prendra au moins trois ans. La Convention générale de l’Église épiscopale et la Conférence générale de l’Église méthodiste unie doivent approuver l’accord qui est l’aboutissement de 15 années d’exploration et de plus de 50 ans de dialogue officiel entre les deux églises. La prochaine Convention générale de l’Église épiscopale se tiendra en juillet 2018 à Austin (État du Texas). La Conférence générale de l’Église méthodiste aura lieu en 2020.

La proposition de dix pages, intitulée « A Gift to the World, Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness » [Un don pour le monde, en collaboration pour la guérison d’un monde déchiré] déclare qu’il « s’agit d’une initiative visant à rapprocher nos églises à travers une collaboration plus étroite dans la mission et le témoignage de l’amour de Dieu et à œuvrer ensemble pour la guérison des divisions entre les chrétiens pour le bien-être de tous ».

Frank Brookhart, évêque du Montana, co-président pour l’Église épiscopale du dialogue et l’évêque Gregory V. Palmer, co-président pour l’Église méthodiste uni, ont écrit dans une récente lettre que « la relation forgée au fil de ces années de dialogue et la reconnaissance qu’il n’y a aucun empêchement théologique à l’unité, prépare le terrain pour la présente proposition préliminaire ».

Il y aura dans les mois à venir des occasions de retours d’informations, de rencontres régionales et de débats sur la proposition, selon le le Communiqué de presse du 17 mai.

« Nous vous encourageons à dépasser les cadres confessionnels pour créer de nouvelles relations et approfondir les relations existantes par l’étude en commun de ces documents et la prière mutuelle pour l’unité de nos églises », ont écrit Frank Brookhart et Gregory Palmer. « Nous pensons que cette proposition représente un témoignage significatif de l’unité et de la réconciliation dans un monde de plus en plus divisé et vous prions de vous joindre à nous pour poursuivre ces travaux ».

De plus amples informations sur le sujet dont des documents historiques, sont disponibles ici.

L’Église épiscopale définit la « pleine communion » comme « une relation entre des églises distinctes selon laquelle chacune reconnait l’autre comme une église catholique et apostolique respectant les fondamentaux de la foi chrétienne ». Les églises « deviennent interdépendantes tout en restant autonomes », déclare l’église.

Le Comité de dialogue Église épiscopale-Église méthodiste unie qui a élaboré la proposition d’accord, explique que les deux confessions ne cherchent pas à fusionner mais qu’elles se « fondent sur un accord suffisant sur les éléments essentiels de la foi et de la constitution chrétiennes » qui permet, entre autres aspects de cet l’accord, l’interchangeabilité des ministères ordonnés.

« Heureusement, aucune de nos deux églises ni des organes de gouvernance qui antérieurs, ne se sont officiellement condamnés les un les autres, ni ont officiellement remis en question la foi, les ordres ministériels ou les sacrements de l’autre église », a expliqué le groupe.

La proposition épiscopale-méthodiste a également bénéficié du fait que les anglicans de toute la Communion anglicane et les méthodistes partout dans le monde sont en dialogue permanent, poursuit le groupe. Le dialogue a produit un rapport en 2015 intitulé « Into All the World: Being and Becoming Apostolic Churches  (Dans le monde entier : être et devenir des églises apostoliques) » qui décrit son état d’avancement. Cette publication a mis en lumière à cette époque la toute nouvelle relation de pleine communion entre les églises anglicane et méthodiste irlandaises et les mesures historiques concrètes prises en faveur d’un ministère interchangeable.

La proposition de pleine communion épiscopale-méthodiste unie reconnaît que l’Église méthodiste unie « est l’une des diverses expressions du Méthodisme » et fait remarquer que les deux confessions ont soutenu un dialogue avec les églises méthodistes américaines historiquement noires depuis près de 40 ans. Elles collaborent également avec l’Église épiscopale méthodiste africaine (AME), l’Église épiscopale méthodiste africaine Zion (AME Zion) et l’Église épiscopale méthodiste chrétienne (CME) dans divers groupes œcuméniques.

L’Église épiscopale et l’Église méthodiste unie ont ces dernières années adopté certaines mesures provisoires tendant à la pleine communion. Elles ont en 2006 conclu un Interim Eucharistic Sharing [Partage eucharistique provisoire], étape qui a permis au clergé des deux églises de partager la célébration de la Sainte Cène selon certaines directives.  En 2010, le groupe de dialogue a publié une synthèse de ses travaux théologiques intitulée « A Theological Foundation for Full Communion between The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church »(Fondement théologique pour la pleine communion entre l’Église épiscopale et l’Église méthodiste Unie).

La proposition de pleine communion met l’accent sur les accords au niveau de la compréhension de chaque ordre de ministère. Les ministères des laïcs, diacres et prêtres de l’Église épiscopale et des anciens ou presbytres méthodistes unis (ancien est la traduction en anglais de presbytre) seraient tous considérés comme interchangeables, tout en étant régis par les « normes et la politie de chaque église ».

Les deux églises ont une compréhension relativement similaire des évêques, selon la proposition.

« Nous réaffirmons que le ministère des évêques dans l’Église méthodiste unie et l’Église épiscopale est une adaptation de l’épiscopat historique aux besoins et aux soucis du contexte postérieur à la révolution américaine », indique le dialogue dans la proposition. « Nous reconnaissons les ministères de nos évêques comme pleinement valides et authentiques ».

L’Église épiscopale et l’Église méthodiste unie s’engageraient à ce que les futures consécrations d’évêques dans l’une comprennent la participation et l’imposition des mains par au moins trois évêques de l’autre et de partenaires de pleine communion qu’elles ont en commun, à savoir l’Église morave et l’Église évangélique luthérienne en Amérique.

L’Église épiscopale est actuellement en pleine communion avec l’Église évangélique luthérienne en Amérique, l’Église Mar Thoma de Malabar en Inde, les Églises vieilles-catholiques de l’Union d’Utrecht, l’Église philippine indépendante, l’Église de Suède et les provinces nordiques et méridionales de l’Église morave. Elle poursuit également des entretiens bilatéraux officiels avec l’Église presbytérienne (États-Unis) et avec l’Église catholique romaine par l’intermédiaire de la Conférence des évêques des États-Unis.

De plus amples informations sur le dialogue entre l’Église épiscopale et l’Église méthodiste unie sont disponibles ici.

Les travaux du Dialogue épiscopal-méthodiste uni sont validés par deux résolutions de la Convention générale : 2015-A107 et 2006-A055.

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

Barron Trump scolarisé à la rentrée à St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Maryland)

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:58pm

Le Président Donald Trump pointe du doigt son fils Barron lors du défilé inaugural du 20 janvier 2017, avec la première dame Melania Trump à Washington. Photo : REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Barron Trump, le plus jeune fils du Président Donald Trump va être scolarisé à la rentrée à St. Andrew’s Episcopal School à Potomac (État du Maryland).

Barron Trump, âgé de 11 ans, va déménager de New York à Washington avec sa mère, la première dame Melania Trump, à la fin de l’année scolaire en cours à  Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School située dans le quartier Upper West Side de Manhattan. Il est supposé être en cinquième année.

Robert Kosasky, directeur de St. Andrew’s et Rodney Glasgow, directeur du collège et responsable de la diversité, a adressé une lettre aux familles de St. Andrew’s confirmant que le jeune Trump allait devenir membre de la Promotion 2024, a annoncé CNN.

Le Washington Post a annoncé que la Maison-Blanche souhaitait annoncer la nouvelle pendant l’été une fois l’année scolaire terminée à St. Andrew’s, en partie de crainte que l’école puisse devenir le théâtre de manifestations. Mais les parents se sont mis à poser des questions lorsque des rumeurs ont commencé à circuler et l’école a décidé de confirmer l’inscription de Barron Trump. Selon CNN, l’école avait obtenu l’autorisation de la famille Trump pour le faire.

Melania Trump a déclaré après l’annonce que la famille « est très heureuse » que Barron Trump puisse fréquenter une école qui, a-t-elle dit « est reconnue pour sa communauté diversifiée et son engagement envers l’excellence de son enseignement ». La mission de l’école qui est « de connaître et d’inspirer chaque enfant dans une communauté inclusive consacrée à un enseignement, un apprentissage et un service exceptionnels » a attiré la famille, a-t-elle confié.

Donald Trump a été élevé dans la tradition presbytérienne. Barron Trump a été baptisé en décembre 2006 à l’Église épiscopale de Bethesda-by-the-Sea à Palm Beach (État de Floride), l’église où même ses parents se sont mariés le 22 janvier 2005.

St. Andrew’s, à une trentaine de kilomètres au nord de la Maison-Blanche, a été fondée en 1978 et compte 580 élèves répartis entre la sixième et la douzième année d’études. Selon les informations figurant sur le site Web de l’école, la taille moyenne des classes est de 15 élèves et le ratio élève-enseignant est de 7 à 1. Les frais de scolarité se situent juste en dessous de 40 000 dollars pour les élèves de la sixième à la huitième année.

L’école dispose d’un Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, dont la priorité est définie comme : « veiller à ce que la totalité des enseignants de St. Andrew’s – de la maternelle à la douzième année – reçoivent (chaque année scolaire) formation et développement professionnel continu en science de l’éducation, de l’esprit et de l’activité cérébrale, une approche des plus novatrices étant appliquée aujourd’hui à l’amélioration de la qualité des enseignants et de la réussite des élèves.

Q&A: Los Angeles priest champions interfaith education, dialogue

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:39pm

The Rev. Gwynne Guibord leads the Guibord Center, which is devoted to promoting interfaith education and dialogue. Photo: The Guibord Center

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Gwynne Guibord is trained as a clinical psychologist, and for much of her adult life she expected to continue in private practice until retirement. But God had other plans for her.

She began feeling a call to the priesthood after a series of midlife events prompted a stretch of soul-searching, especially the death in 1992 of her sister from leukemia at age 37.

“One morning I got up, and I remember saying out loud, ‘All my life I’ve told you I love you’ – referring to God – ‘and if you’re asking me to do this one thing, then I had best show up and do the work.’ And within a month I was in seminary.”

The Rev. Gwynne Guibord

Age: 72
Where: Los Angeles, California
Who: Founder and president of The Guibord Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to interfaith education and dialogue.
Professional background: Guibord worked as a clinical psychologist before following a calling to religious ministry. She attended Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California, and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2005.

Now Guibord, after being ordained as a priest in 2003 and serving in Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, is the head of the Guibord Center, an independent nonprofit organization she founded in 2011 to promote interfaith education and dialogue through a wide range of events and resources. She spoke to Episcopal News Service recently by phone.

What was your religious upbringing, and were you exposed to many different religions at a young age?

It’s kind of an interesting background. My father was French Canadian, although born in the state of Michigan. He was reared as a Roman Catholic, and my mother was from the South and she was reared as a Southern Baptist. My sisters and I were reared in the United Methodist Church. My father always felt drawn to Judaism. He converted to Judaism as a Reform Jew, was very devout in his belief and practice of Judaism. And I really observed my parents negotiating that. My mother would go to synagogue services every Friday night. They would celebrate the High Holy Days together, and they did that will a lot of grace. And I think it’s because of that that I started feeling very drawn to learning about other religions and faiths.

Did you feel a calling at some point to pursue that kind of interfaith work more deliberately?

Well, I have never ever felt called to parish ministry, although I serve at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. My calling has always been to work in the ecumenical, as well as interfaith endeavors. And now it’s completely interfaith.

It can be tough enough to find common ground across the Anglican Communion and within the Episcopal Church. Why is it important to you to also seek common ground with all world religions?

When you look at what’s happening in the world today, it would appear that many hotspots in the world come from a religious ideology that kind of has the attitude of, “My God is bigger than your God and therefore better than your God.” And I really believe that unless we completely understand one another, or as much as we possibly can about our various religions and faiths, we’re going have a very, very hard time with finding peace amongst us with any integrity at all. I have found that we have far more in common than not. We are distinct in our differences and we should remain distinct in our differences. However, there is far more in common. All religions or faiths know the whole notion about compassion, about our humanity, about leading with integrity based on our religious or faith beliefs, about treating one another with kindness. And if we were to emphasis that, I think the world would be in a much, much better place than it is right now.

There are strains of extremism in each of the three religious that make up the Abrahamic family – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Do strict interpretations of those faiths make it difficult for interfaith dialogue to happen?

Every human being carries within them a filter, and that filter is how that individual sees the world. On that filter are things like a person’s age, their economic status, their political beliefs, their social standing in their community, their gender, their sexual orientation, level of education, the kind of family that they came from. And that impacts how people view or interpret religious texts. It’s going to be interpreted in different ways, some ultra-conservative and others ultra-liberal based on where they’ve come from and what they’ve come from.

Does that make it more difficult to break through some of those barriers?

I don’t know that people have that understanding of the filter that they carry, I don’t know that all people have heard it that way. And if they were to hear it that way they may be able to think a little bit differently about what they are reading in whatever their sacred text is. We tend to think that there is an absolute truth. There isn’t. There are many truths in the world.

You served from 2003 through 2009 as officer of ecumenical and interreligious concerns for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Is there anything about Southern California that offers unique opportunities for this kind of work?

We’re on the Pacific Rim and therefore I would guess that we have more of the Buddhisms – there’s just not one Buddhism; it’s very much like Christianity – so I think that we have access to some religions that may not be as readily accessible in other parts of the United States. I’ve heard from people that they don’t have a Hindu community nearby or they don’t have a Buddhist community nearby.

More recently, your experiences with cancer have informed your work, including the panel discussion you hosted in February, “Beyond the Veil: Life After Death.” Has your focus been more on what faith teaches us about the process of dying or on what might await us in the afterlife?

It was both. The panelists spoke both about the process of death as well as various beliefs about what happens on the other side of death. And I doubt I would have done that panel had I not been diagnosed with my own cancer eight years ago – I am not terminal, I’m doing well, but I doubt that panel would have happened. There was a huge turnout. People were fascinated by it, and it’s a topic we tend to not want to talk about or deal with because all of us, no matter what that filter is that I referred to, will face that at some point in our lives.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. This interview was lightly edited for clarity and condensed.

Bishop of Manchester offers prayers after suicide attack

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 11:34am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, has issued the following statement after the attack at a concert venue in Manchester in northern England in which 22 people were killed and 59 injured:

“Today is a day to mourn the dead, to pray with their families and with the injured, and to reaffirm our determination that those who murder and maim will never defeat us.”

Read full statement.

Fate of quake damaged New Zealand cathedral to be decided in September

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 11:33am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in New Zealand has said the future of Christchurch Cathedral, which has been derelict since an earthquake six years ago, will be decided this September. The Synod of the Diocese of Christchurch will rule on whether the Cathedral should be restored – or demolished and replaced with a contemporary building. Local officials involved with the city’s regeneration have been pressing for a resolution and campaigners have called for immediate government intervention to restore the iconic Cathedral. The diocesan property division has defended itself over allegations that it has dragged its feet.

Read the full story here.

Gene Robinson named to two Chautauqua Institution posts

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 11:07am

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is the former bishop diocesan of New Hampshire.

[Chautauqua Institution press release] In anticipation of the departure of Director of Religion the Rev. Robert Franklin at the conclusion of the 2017 Chautauqua Institution season, President Michael E. Hill has announced plans to reorganize the Department of Religion with an eye toward shaping a national dialogue on faith in society.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, formerly of the Diocese of New Hampshire, will assume the new role of vice president and senior pastor of the Chautauqua Institution effective Sept. 1.  Robinson will provide executive leadership for the Department of Religion and will chair a new volunteer advisory group, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith in Society.

Currently a fellow at the Center for American Progress,  Robinson is an internationally recognized interfaith leader. He is among the inaugural group of 13 senior fellows at Auburn Seminary, the first leadership development and research institute in the country to launch a fellowship program to cultivate the skills of multi-faith leaders working for justice. Also an outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized populations,  Robinson is recognized for his groundbreaking work with the LGBT community, youth communities and those suffering from abuse and addiction.

Longtime Associate Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno will be promoted to the role of director of religion, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department and serving as a key programmatic partner to  Robinson.

Robinson is no stranger to Chautauqua, having served as a popular and thought-provoking speaker/lecturer and as chaplain of the week during the 2011 season.

“Religion is at the center of many of today’s most pressing issues and most difficult challenges,” Robinson said. “Yet in our increasingly polarized society, there are fewer safe places to have meaningful conversation about those challenges. Chautauqua and its Department of Religion have been, and will continue to be, a place where those conversations can happen, where all viewpoints are heard, and where every human being is honored and valued. Through the curated conversations from a religious perspective, our goal is no less than to heal the world.”

Read the full release here.

Episcopal Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary agree on collaboration

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 3:08pm

[Episcopal Divinity School] Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) and Union Theological Seminary announced May 19 that they have signed an agreement that will allow EDS to continue as an Episcopal seminary through a collaboration with Union at its campus in New York City beginning in the fall of 2018.

“We had three goals when we began to plan this news phase in EDS’s life,” said the Rev.  Gary Hall, chair of the EDS board. “We wanted to continue providing Episcopal theological education within an accredited, degree-granting program, deepen our historic commitment to gospel-centered justice, and provide financial strength and stability for EDS’s future. Today, I am delighted to say that we have achieved all three.”

“This is an historic moment,” said the Rev. Serene Jones, president of the Union faculty and Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy at Union. “We are honored that EDS has chosen to partner with us and are certain that the stewardship of our deepest commitments will be fulfilled in the years ahead.”

The Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas will be the first dean of EDS at Union. Photo: Washington National Cathedral

EDS appointed the Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion at Goucher College in Maryland and canon theologian at Washington National Cathedral, as the first dean of EDS at Union. Douglas will also join the Union faculty as a professor. She is the author of many articles and five books, including “Stand Your Ground:  Black Bodies and the Justice of God,” which was written in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin.

“Kelly Brown Douglas is one of the most distinguished religious thinkers, teachers, ministers, and activists in the nation,” Jones said. “We are confident that Union’s longstanding commitment to both the Gospel and social justice will be strengthened and enhanced under her leadership.”

Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1983, Douglas holds a master’s degree in theology and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Union. Her academic work focuses on womanist theology, sexuality and the black church, and she is a sought-after speaker and author on issues of racial justice and theology.

“Kelly is an Episcopal Church leader and an eminent scholar—and she is a daughter of Union,” Hall said. “Working together, EDS and Union aim to advance the causes of social justice and theology in the world and Kelly is the ideal leader for this new venture.”

“I am excited for the challenge,” Douglas said. “What I am really happy about for the wider EDS community is that this isn’t the typical bad news of a small seminary closing. This is the news that this place believed enough in its mission that it went out and found a way to carry that mission forward in a viable fashion, and found a way for the mission to grow. EDS is going to continue. The EDS community has found the platform to do that, and they have found in UTS an institution that shares their mission. I feel privileged to be a part of this next chapter in EDS’ life.”

Beginning in 2018, students who enroll in the EDS program at Union will earn graduate degrees from Union and also fulfill requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church. In addition to Douglas, EDS will hire a professor of Anglican studies to join the four Episcopal priests currently on Union’s faculty.

“I look forward to the amazing possibilities that will be brought forth through this affiliation,” said Union’s Board Chair Wolcott B. Dunham Jr. “Our work together will surely expand the ways we serve the church and the world.” A lifelong Episcopalian, Dunham is also senior warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church in the City of New York and a former trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

EDS plans to purchase a floor in a new building being constructed at Union that will house offices, residential space for the dean, and other facilities. The EDS campus in Cambridge will be sold after operations there cease in July, and the proceeds will be added to the school’s endowment, currently valued at $53 million.

The EDS board has voted to cap spending at four percent of its endowment once expenses associated with the move to Union are paid. “We are in this for the long haul,” said Bonnie Anderson, vice chair of the EDS board.  “Enshrining our commitment to sensible, sustainable spending in our affiliation agreement was important to us.”

EDS alums will enjoy the same library and campus privileges accorded to Union alums. The EDS library and archives will be reviewed by representatives from both schools and Union will accept items that do not duplicate its own holdings. The Burke Library at Union, part of Columbia University’s library system and one of the largest theological libraries in North America, with holdings of more than 700,000 items.

The initial term of the EDS-Union affiliation agreement is eleven years, and both schools have the option to agree to extensions beyond that time. EDS will remain its own legal entity with its own board of trustees.

The two seminaries began negotiations in February after Union was chosen from among nine potential candidates that expressed interest in an alliance with EDS. The EDS board, spurred by financial challenges that were depleting the school’s endowment, voted in 2016 to cease granting degrees in May 2017 and to explore options for EDS’s future.

EDS has adopted a generous severance plan for its faculty and staff. All students who did not complete their degrees this month are being “taught out” at other seminaries with EDS’s financial support so as to avoid additional costs.

About Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve.

Union believes that a new interreligious spirituality of radical openness and love is the world’s best hope for peace, justice, and the care of God’s creation. Empowered by groundbreaking inquiry aligned with practical realism and a bias for action, Union is charting a profound new course for enduring social change. Union’s graduates stand out wherever they serve, practicing their vocations with courage and perseverance, and speaking clearly and acting boldly on behalf of social justice in all of its forms.

About Episcopal Divinity School

Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts was formed in 1974 by the merger of Philadelphia Divinity School (1857) and Episcopal Theological School (1867). For more than 40 years, EDS has offered a bold and expansive vision of inclusion and social justice in the service of preparing students to lead faith communities.

In July 2016, the EDS Board of Trustees voted to cease granting degrees in May 2017 and to explore options for EDS’s future that would carry on the seminary’s historic mission, continue accredited degree-granting theological education, and provide financial strength and stability for EDS’s future. More information is available here.

RIP: Katherine Elizabeth (Betty) Davis Gilmore

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 11:59am

[Diocese Northwest Texas] It is with profound sadness that the Diocese of Northwest Texas shares news of the death of a great friend and an outstanding icon of lay servanthood. Katherine Elizabeth (Betty) Davis Gilmore, of Midland, Texas, died peacefully on the afternoon of May 9, 2017.

Betty had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, and was sent to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for further diagnostics and possibly treatment. She was transferred back to Midland recently to be with her family, and died at home, surrounded by her loved ones.

She leaves behind her husband of 60 years, Willis (Bill), and four children: Kathy Shannon of Midland; Karen Anderson and husband, Steve, of Fort Collins, Colorado; Trey Gilmore and his wife, Susan, of Houston, Texas; and Laurence Gilmore of Denver, Colorado. She was the grandmother of eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Betty was born September 3, 1933, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her childhood years were spent in New Orleans, Louisiana, while attending Louise S. McGhee School.  She enjoyed her summers at Camp Waldemar where her daughters and granddaughters continued the tradition. She later attended and graduated from The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas.  She studied English Literature at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1955. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority in which she remained actively involved for many years.

If you were “friends” with Betty on the web, you may have encountered her personal profile on LinkedIn, which listed her role, her “job,” as an “Independent Non-Profit Organization Management Professional,” a description that was quite apropos. She used that knowledge and experience to be civically active in Midland, where she served on the Board of Manor Park, a local retirement facility, and was a charter member of the Midland Symphony Guild, where she formulated the organization’s bylaws with fellow Guild charter member, Harriet Herd. She and Mrs. Herd continued to create bylaws for various organizations throughout the community.  Betty participated actively in Junior League, Friends of the Library, and the Samaritan Counseling Center.

For numerous decades, Betty served the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, and the Episcopal Church, in almost every capacity in which a layperson could serve. The executive secretary emeritus for the diocese, Carolyn Hearn, recently spoke lovingly of Betty, by reflecting, “Betty was the greatest mentor I’ve ever had. She took me under her wing when I was hired as the executive secretary, and kept me there for 37 years.” Betty’s grace and knowledge were exceptional. She lit up every room she entered with her gracious smile and cheerful personality. She was, indeed, a great Southern lady and an outstanding servant leader, setting an example for what lay leadership could be. The April 2017 diocesan newsletter, The Adventure…on the go, stated, “She has always answered the call of service to the diocese willingly and happily. Her beautiful white hair and equally sparkling smile can’t compare to her gracious personality.”

In her decades of service for the diocese, Betty served as parliamentarian for the annual diocesan convention for many years, as well as serving as the chair of the Constitution and Canons Committee, during which she oversaw the complete re-write of the diocesan Constitution and Canons. Betty also served on the Standing Committee, the committee in charge of ecclesiastical oversight for the diocese; the Commission on Ministry, which assists the diocese with screening and approval of candidates for the priesthood and diaconate; as well as serving as the diocesan ECW president. She was a lifelong Episcopalian and active member of St. Nicholas’ Episcopal Church, in Midland, serving on the vestry, as well as serving as a lay Eucharistic minister, a lector, and through assisting with the planning and execution for the construction of the new church building on the Loop. Additionally, she served for numerous years on the Province VII Council, as the Secretary of Province VII of The Episcopal Church.

On a church-wide level, Betty served the Episcopal Church for years through her service to General Convention as the chair of dispatch of business, as well as serving as a General Convention deputy representing the diocese. Betty was also the chair of the Committee for Restructure of the Church, from 1994-1997. Prior to the 1994 General Convention, Betty was asked to write an article for The Living Church, a publication of the Living Church Foundation, as a service for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.  The article was entitled, “The Big Picture from Many Angles,” which discussed a possible new direction for the Episcopal Church at the Indianapolis General Convention. In her service to the Church, Betty developed relationships with Episcopal Church presiding bishops, diocesan bishops, and many, many other people who respected her tremendously.

As a result of her long years of service and leadership, Betty was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters in 1999, from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. The citation that accompanied Gilmore’s honorary degree remarked, “Highly organized, skillful facilitator and keen yet gracious parliamentarian, you have been the epitome of lay ministry in all levels of the Episcopal Church for decades. You have left your mark not only on your parish, St. Nicholas’, Midland, and the Diocese of Northwest Texas, but also Province VII and the national church.” Again, in 2006, Betty was honored by being named the Diocese of Northwest Texas Honored Woman at the national Episcopal Church Women’s (ECW) Triennial meeting, which ran concurrently with the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, in Columbus, Ohio. She was identified by the National Episcopal Churchwomen’s Board, with other women throughout the Episcopal Church, as “modeling the Christian life.” The October 2006 diocesan newsletter reported, “She walks in the ways of God in the church and the community. She uses her God-given gifts in all she is and in all she does. Betty has graciously and faithfully served her parish, diocese, province and the national church in ways too numerous to mention here.” It goes without saying that her presence, wisdom, and grace will be greatly missed, but her untiring service to her family, friends, church and community will continue as an inspiration to all who knew her.

A memorial service was held May 17 at St. Nicholas’ Episcopal Church in Midland.

Online condolences may be offered here.The Gilmore family suggests memorial gifts may be sent to:

The Gilmore family’s suggested memorial gifts are listed here.

2 Iranian Christians face court hearing

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 11:15am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Two Iranian Christians arrested at a Christmas celebration in 2014 have been summoned to a court hearing this Sunday. Victor Bet Tamraz was seized at his home along with Amin Nader Afshar. They were subsequently released on bail, but Amin Nader Afshar was then re-arrested last August during a picnic along with four others, including Tamraz’s son.

Full article.