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

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

[Episcopal Diocese of New York] 

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche

Bishop of New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Food and Faith’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biblical roots for feeding ministries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving much, lacking nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

Anglican Communion appoints director for theological education

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

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

Read the entire article here.

Anglican Communion appoints director for theological education

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

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

Read the entire article here.

Episcopales alegan valores en toda una variedad de empeños contra el hambre, desde comedores de beneficencia hasta ayuda global

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 9:14am

Invitados y voluntarios oran juntos durante uno de los desayunos gratuitos que ofrece la iglesia episcopal de Sn Lucas en Seattle, uno  de los varios ministerios para combatir el hambre en que participa la Iglesia Episcopal en todos los niveles. Foto de Sara Bates/San Lucas.

[Episcopal News Service] En el cristianismo, el alimento es inseparable de la fe. [Esa unión] la subraya un amplio espectro de las enseñanzas bíblicas y de las tradiciones cristianas, desde el ayuno individual hasta la Última Cena de Jesús y la celebración de la eucaristía. El viaje de la fe es un trayecto del hambre a la plenitud.

“Bienaventurados los que tienen hambre, por que ellos serán saciados”, dice Jesús en Lucas 6:21.

Pero los seguidores de Jesús también fueron llamados a dar a los pobres, proporcionando alimento físico junto con el alimento espiritual de Jesús. Definir esa misión, para no decir cumplirla, puede ser difícil, y las iglesias y creyentes se han enfrentado desde los tiempos de Jesús con la pregunta de cuál es la mejor manera de abordar el problema del hambre. En la actualidad, el hambre física sigue siendo un azote persistente en el mundo, incluidos países de gran riqueza como Estados Unidos.

‘Alimento y fe’

Episcopal News Service inicia una serie en cinco partes sobre los empeños para combatir el hambre en el ámbito de la Iglesia Episcopal. Otros artículos se centrarán en despensas de alimentos, un comedor de beneficencia, un camión de alimentos y la intervención de la Iglesia en la defensa de los programas del gobierno que combaten el hambre. La segunda parte aparecerá el 6 de noviembre.

La esperanza también se mantiene. Episcopal News Service la encontró en un programa de servicio a indigentes en Seattle, Washington, en el ministerio de un camión de comidas en Houston, Texas, y en un comedor de beneficencia en la ciudad de Nueva York.  Esos y otros ejemplos de soluciones al problema del hambre basadas en la fe forman el tuétano de la serie  “Alimento y fe” en este mes de noviembre, en el cual ENS cuenta las historias de varios empeños contra el hambre que se llevan a cabo en todos los confines de la Iglesia Episcopal.

La necesidad está bien documentada. Más de 41,2 millones de estadounidenses y el 12 por ciento de las familias se definen como alimentariamente inseguros por carecer de acceso al alimento suficiente para mantener vidas activas y sanas, según la más reciente “Ficha descriptiva de la pobreza y el hambre” de Feeding America. Y el hambre no es solamente un problema de pobreza. Más de la mitad de todos los estadounidenses con inseguridad alimentaria viven en familias por encima del nivel de la pobreza.

Ni es el hambre una emergencia súbita para muchas familias. Puede ser una realidad implacable e insuperable de la vida diaria.

“Muchísima gente que vive por debajo o cerca del nivel de la pobreza se preguntan de dónde les llegará su próxima comida”, dijo Catherine Davis, encargada principal de mercadeo y comunicaciones de Feeding America, [organización] que distribuye alimento a través de sus bancos de alimentos a despensas de beneficencias tanto religiosas como seculares en todo el país.

La Iglesia Episcopal hace énfasis en los empeños para combatir el hambre en todos los niveles. Las congregaciones en todas partes funcionan como despensas de alimentos y ministerios de comida para asistir a los necesitados con alimentos enlatados o un plato de sopa en cualquier momento. Existe la Despensa de la Gracia  [Grace Food Pantry] en Madison, Wisconsin, que ha distribuido alimentos a personas necesitadas durante 38 años. Existe Cosecha Abundante [Abundant Harvest] un ministerio episcopal relativamente nuevo de camión de comidas en el área de Houston que es parte de una congregación que se propone encontrar la comunión en torno a la mesa de la comida.

Los voluntarios Clare Manthey y John Mitchell se disponen a servir el desayuno diario gratuito a través del ministerio Cocina de la Esperanza Comestible. Foto de Sara Bates/San Lucas.

Para ministerios como éstos, el objetivo es hacer más que poner alimento en las bocas de los necesitados.

“Es un testimonio para nuestra comunidad y nuestro barrio de lo que significa vivir una vida cristiana”, dijo Sara Bates, coordinadora de Cocina de la Esperanza Comestible [Edible Hope Kitchen] en la iglesia episcopal de San Lucas [St. Luke’s Episcopal Church] en Seattle, que sirve desayuno gratuito todas las mañanas a cientos de indigentes de su bario de Ballard.

La lucha contra el hambre no es sólo local. El dinero donado al Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo [Episcopal Relief & Development] sostiene programas que combaten el hambre en lugares como Sudán del Sur. Las campañas denominacionales de promoción social procuran influir la política de EE.UU. sobre la mitigación del hambre, a través de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal,  de maneras que reflejen los valores cristianos.

En mayo, el obispo primado Michael Curry se unió a “Para un tiempo como éste”  [For Such a Time as This] una campaña ecuménica de oración, activismo social y ayuno, programada para el día 21 de cada mes durante el actual período congresional a fin de resaltar el cambio que pueden hacer en las vidas de personas que luchan con el hambre algunos programas gubernamentales , como es el Programa de Asistencia Nutricional Suplementaria, también conocido por SNAP [su sigla en inglés] o sellos de alimentos.

Curry dijo a Episcopal News Service que, al alimentar tanto el cuerpo como el alma, la Iglesia estaba siguiendo los pasos de Jesús.

“Jesús alimentó a 5.000 personas con pan físico y tangible porque estaban hambrientos. Al mismo tiempo, alimentó sus almas al enseñarles el camino del Evangelio”, expresó Curry. “Los sacramentos, la palabra de Dios, el culto, el estudio bíblico, los grupos de oración, alimentan el alma. Los comedores de caridad, las despensas de alientos, las distribuciones de alimentos ecuménicos e interreligiosos, los huertos comunitarios, alimentan el cuerpo. De estas formas, buscamos ponerle fin al hambre… hambre del cuerpo y hambre del espíritu”.

Raíces bíblicas de los ministerios de alimentación

Jesús también alude a esta dualidad en las Bienaventuranzas: “Bienaventurados los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, porque ellos serán saciados”, dicen Mateo 5:1-12.

En griego, la palabra que se traduce [al español] como justicia era la misma para equidad, hacía notar la Rda. Jane Patterson, profesora asociada de Nuevo Testamento en el Seminario del Sudoeste en Austin, Texas. Sin embargo, la manera en que el mundo antiguo entendió el hambre y el ayuno era diferente de cómo la entendemos hoy.

“La mayoría de la gente en el mundo antiguo estaban hambrientos la mayor parte del tiempo”, dijo Patterson a ENS, y los profetas plantearon el argumento moral de la alimentación de los hambrientos.

La idea de Jesús como el “buen pastor” se basa en Ezequiel 34, dijo Patterson. Dios le pregunta a los pastores por qué se alimentan ellos, pero no cuidan del rebaño. Dios promete cuidar de sus ovejas, los israelitas, y “proporcionarles una tierra famosa por sus cosechas, y donde ellos no sigan siendo víctima del hambre ni el escarnio de las naciones”.

La referencias a la abundancia y a la escasez continúan a través del Nuevo Testamento. Las palabras “hambre” y “hambriento[s]” se encuentran 19 veces en los evangelios. “Comer” aparece varias docenas de veces más. En Marcos 11:12-14, Jesús tiene hambre, pero no encuentra higos en la higuera, y condena el árbol a secarse. El hijo pródigo Lucas 15 está tan hambriento que codicia la comida de los cerdos, “pero nadie le da nada”. Y en Mateo 6:25, Jesús dice “no se preocupen por vuestra vida, lo que han de comer o de beber… ¿No es la vida más que la comida?”

Para los discípulos, Jesús compartió la Última Cena en un momento de incertidumbre y cuando una gran injusticia estaba a punto de ocurrir, dijo Patterson. Hoy se vuelve a contar antes de cada eucaristía debido a la manera en que Jesús vinculó la comida con su próximo sacrificio, ofreciéndose como pan y vino.

“El alimento es básico para la vida”, siguió diciendo Patterson, pero las necesidades espirituales son igualmente esenciales. Con frecuencia hay poca distinción entre las dos en la Biblia. “Las personas que están hambrientas necesitan alimentos reales, y también necesitan sostén espiritual”.

Uno de los relatos evangélicos más conocidos es el citado por Curry, la alimentación de los 5.000 con sólo cinco hogazas de pan y dos peses tal como lo cuentan los cuatro evangelios. A ese milagro sigue la enseñanza de Jesús sobre “el pan de vida”.

“El que a mí viene nunca tendrá hambre, y el que en mí cree no tendrá sed jamás”, dice en Juan 6:35.

Los discípulos de Jesús “necesitaban que les enseñaran tanto como necesitaban el pan”, apuntó Patterson. Ella también enfatiza la naturaleza comunal del milagro. No se dice que Jesús multiplicara los panes y los peces. El milagro consiste en que todos los que estaban reunidos se alimentaron del poco alimento que había disponible, y nadie se quedó sin comer por darles a los necesitados.

“En la economía de Dios, nunca las cosas se reducen a cero”, afirmó ella.

Dar mucho, carecer de nada

La Rda. Melanie Mullen, directora de reconciliación, justicia y cuidado de la creación de la Iglesia Episcopal, busca inspiración en Proverbios 28 en la lucha contra el hambre: “El que le da al pobre no carecerá de nada”.

Mullen supervisa el Ministerio de Jubileo y la Ofrenda Unida de Gracias, dos programas a través de los cuales la Iglesia Episcopal brinda un apoyo económico substancial a las iniciativas para combatir la pobreza. El Ministerio de Jubileo se centra específicamente en la pobreza a través de su red de 600 centros de jubileo, los cuales ofrecen toda una gama de servicios, que incluyen alimento, albergue y atención sanitaria.

La Ofrenda Unida de Gracias o UTO [por su sigla en inglés] recoge donaciones de individuos a través de la Iglesia Episcopal y distribuye el dinero a una amplia variedad de ministerios valiosos, muchos de ellos ministerios de alimentación.

Este año se otorgaron más de $1.200.000 en subvenciones de la UTO. Entre los beneficiarios se incluían una granja dirigida por la Diócesis de Ohio, un huerto de una iglesia en Connecticut y ministerios de alimentación en California Central. Los ministerios de alimentación regularmente se benefician de subvenciones de la UTO, tal como los $12.500 otorgados en 2016  en apoyo de este huerto en la iglesia episcopal de Santiago Apóstol [St. James] en Kent, Washington.

La Iglesia Episcopal puede ejercer su liderazgo desde una posición de claridad moral basándose en las enseñanzas de Jesús, dijo Mullen.

“Cuando ayudamos a los pobres no sólo estamos haciendo una obra de caridad, estamos viviendo como Jesús dijo”, afirmó ella.

La Iglesia Episcopal, a través de la Comunión Anglicana, también promueve una red mundial de creyentes dispuestos a dar su dinero, a apoyar a extranjeros que necesitan ayuda para poner comida en la mesa. El Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo desempeña un papel protagónico en esos empeños en nombre de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Mitigar el hambre es un área esencial de la obra del Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, con un énfasis en lo programas comunitarios. “Estos programas que se elaboran localmente abordan el contexto específico de los hambrientos y tienen un impacto más amplio en la salud y el bienestar económico de la comunidad”, dice el sitio web de la agencia. “Al trabajar con iglesias asociadas y organizaciones locales, capacitamos a las personas para vivir vidas más sanas y productivas”.

El Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo pudo gastar $6,9 millones en seguridad alimentaria en 2015 y casi $4 millones en 2016, según los informes anuales de la agencia, con la ayuda de episcopales que han sido económicamente generosos a través de los años.

Hay también al parecer ilimitados ejemplos de episcopales que trabajan en sus propias comunidades para ayudar a sus vecinos a poner alimentos en la mesa.

El ministerio de alimentación de la iglesia de San Lucas en Seattle comenzó hace unos 30 años como un almuerzo semanal comunitario, la labor de amor del grupo de estudio bíblico de la iglesia. Más recientemente también ha ayudado a salvar la congregación, que se esfuerza por sobrevivir luego de sufrir una importante división debido a la ordenación de homosexuales.

En 2011, la iglesia perdió aproximadamente el 80 por ciento de sus miembros en esa división, lo cual redujo la asistencia al culto a una docena de personas algunos domingos, dijo Bates. Entre los que se quedaron estaban las mujeres mayores que se encargaban del ministerio de alimentación de la iglesia, y que estaban decididas a mantenerlo.

La iglesia episcopal de San Lucas en Seattle, Washington, donde se sirve diariamente un desayuno gratuito al que acuden cientos d personas cada semana, ha visto un aumento de la indigencia en su barrio de Ballard. Foto de Sara Bates/San Lucas.

Por ese tiempo, la comida se había convertido en un desayuno que se servía cinco días a la semana, en tanto el grupo notaba la presencia de más y más indigentes en el barrio, pero sin programas de alimentación en la mañana. Hace un par de años, según las comidas se fueron haciendo cada vez más populares, tomaron el nombre de Cocina de la Esperanza Comestible a partir de la sugerencia de uno de sus clientes habituales.

“Él les dijo, ‘chicos, ustedes no sirven aquí solo comida. Ustedes sirven esperanza comestible’”, recordaba Bates.

Ella comenzó a trabajar en la iglesia como pasante en 2015, poco después llegó un nuevo vicario y empezó a inyectar nueva vida en la congregación. Bates, de 33 años, ahora trabaja 20 horas a la semana pagada por la iglesia como coordinadora de la Cocina de la Esperanza Comestible gracias a una subvención de $22.000 que San Lucas recibió de la UTO este año.

San Lucas consigue la mayor parte de sus alimentos de donaciones o a costo reducido de un banco de alimentos afiliado a Feeding America en Seattle. La subvención de la UTO también ayudará a que la iglesia actualice el equipo de su cocina. Comprar, por ejemplo, una nueva cortadora de pan es una gran mejora, porque Esperanza Comestible ofrece ilimitadas tostadas de hogazas pan que con frecuencia llegan sin rebanar.

El objetivo es poder alimentar hasta 250 personas entre las 7 y la 10 A.M. todos los días hábiles este [próximo] invierno. Eso significa muchísimas tostadas. La iglesia también consume por lo menos seis docenas de huevos al día, y a veces hasta 14 docenas. De cuatro a 10 voluntarios preparan las comidas la noche anterior, y alrededor de una docena de personas cada mañana las instalan, las sirven y luego se ocupan de la limpieza.

“Sinceramente, no debería ser posible hacer todo lo que hacemos con lo que tenemos. Es verdaderamente milagroso”, dijo Bates.

Las comidas han ayudado a conectar dos grupos en el barrio —los indigentes y los pudientes— que de otro modo pueden encontrar pocos motivos para relacionarse. Bates cree también que el ministerio de alimentación es una de las razones por las que nuevas personas están descubriendo la congregación y haciéndose miembros, especialmente jóvenes y familias. La Cocina de la Esperanza Comestible les ofrece un modo de estar activos en su fe, afirmó ella, haciendo notar que la asistencia el domingo a San Lucas ahora llega a ser a veces de 80 personas.

“No es siempre conveniente tener 200 personas indigentes en nuestra propiedad. No siempre resulta limpio y cómodo, y sin embargo queremos que sea un lugar donde todos nuestros vecinos se sientan acogidos y cómodos”, dijo Bates. “Nos sentimos muy, pero muy llamados a alimentar a nuestros vecinos hambrientos”.

– David Paulsen es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Pueden dirigirse a él a dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s pain at broken communion

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 4:18pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken of the pain caused by the broken communion between Christians brought about as a result of the Protestant Reformation. But, as the churches mark tomorrow’s 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (All Saints/Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Welby said that “we have learned once again to love one another — and to seek to bless and love the world in which we live.”

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s pain at broken communion

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 3:27pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken of the pain caused by the broken communion between Christians brought about as a result of the Protestant Reformation. But, as the churches mark tomorrow’s 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (All Saints/Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Welby said that “we have learned once again to love one another — and to seek to bless and love the world in which we live.”

Read the entire article here.

The Rev. Ronald Byrd named Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 3:00pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The Rev. Ronald Byrd of Haslett, Michigan, has been named the Episcopal Church  Missioner for Black Ministries, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff.

Ronald Byrd

“I am thrilled that Ron has accepted the call to serve as the next Missioner for Black Ministries,” commented the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, Episcopal Church Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Director of Ethnic Ministries. “I am thankful for the hard work that the search committee undertook during the search process. In previous ministries, he has worked with many kinds of Black congregations where he has focused on practical leadership development and congregational vitality. His collaborative and innovative spirit will fit well with the Department of Ethnic Ministries.”

In his new position, Byrd will be a part of the Department of Ethnic Ministries, representing the Black community throughout the Episcopal Church. Among the varied duties, Byrd will work to ensure Black congregational vitality; to inspire and equip Black Episcopalians in every context to be agents of reconciliation; and to foster unity, collaboration and communication among individuals, ministries and organizations concerned about Black people and the Episcopal Church.

His office will be located in Michigan and he begins his new position on November 6. At that time, he can be reached at rbyrd@episcopalchurch.org.

Meet the Rev. Ronald Byrd

Since 2011, Byrd has served as the rector of St. Katherine’s Episcopal Church, Williamston, MI (Diocese of Michigan). He previously served churches in Michigan, Washington, DC, and Virginia. He served on numerous committees and groups in the Diocese of Michigan including the Diocesan Council.

In addition to serving as a deputy to General Convention 2015, Byrd has extensive experience on Episcopal Church committees including: Design Team Member for the International Black Clergy Conference, Houston, TX (2016); member of the Joint Nominating Committee for Presiding Bishop (2015 – present); and Executive Committee, Fund Raising, National Union of Black Episcopalians (2013 – 2016).

‘Fantabulous’ news as West Yorkshire church re-opens two years after flood

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 3:32pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A church in West Yorkshire is to be rededicated by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, next weekend, almost two years after it was severely damaged after being engulfed in 1.2 meter-high flood water. Saint Michael’s Church in Mytholmroyd was one of 3,000 buildings – including more than 2,000 homes – in the Calder Valley damaged when the area was flooded on Boxing Day in 2015. The damage caused by the flood was estimated at £150 million GBP. Since the flooding, the congregation held services in the town’s cricket club before being invited to share the building of the local Good Shepherd Roman Catholic church.

Read the entire article here.

‘Fantabulous’ news as West Yorkshire church re-opens two years after flood

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 3:25pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A church in West Yorkshire is to be rededicated by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, next weekend, almost two years after it was severely damaged after being engulfed in 1.2 meter-high flood water. Saint Michael’s Church in Mytholmroyd was one of 3,000 buildings – including more than 2,000 homes – in the Calder Valley damaged when the area was flooded on Boxing Day in 2015. The damage caused by the flood was estimated at £150 million GBP. Since the flooding, the congregation held services in the town’s cricket club before being invited to share the building of the local Good Shepherd Roman Catholic church.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi installed as director of Anglican Centre in Rome

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 3:21pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The former primate of Burundi, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, has been installed in his combined role director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the archbishop of Canterbury’s personal representative to the Holy See. The installation as director of the Anglican Centre took place the evening of Oct. 26, during Anglican evensong at the Caravita  – the Oratorio di San Francesco Saverio del Caravita – a Catholic church that is often used by the Anglican Centre in Rome. The morning of Oct. 27, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, took Bernard to the vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis. The meeting was followed by lunch at the pope’s residence.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi installed as director of Anglican Centre in Rome

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 3:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The former primate of Burundi, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, has been installed in his combined role director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the archbishop of Canterbury’s personal representative to the Holy See. The installation as director of the Anglican Centre took place the evening of Oct. 26, during Anglican evensong at the Caravita  – the Oratorio di San Francesco Saverio del Caravita – a Catholic church that is often used by the Anglican Centre in Rome. The morning of Oct. 27, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, took Bernard to the vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis. The meeting was followed by lunch at the pope’s residence.

Read the entire article here.

How these churches handle Halloween

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 6:34pm

The placement of multicolored decor, photos, mementos and skulls on the altar at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, is part of the congregation’s Nov. 2 event to honor loved ones who’ve passed away. It’s one aspect of the All Saints and Faithful Departed holiday rooted in Mexican cultural traditions. Photo: Carlos Carrillo/ All Saints Episcopal Church

[Episcopal News Service] At the start of November, Carlos Carrillo thinks of his ancestors, deceased family members and his partner of 18 years, Rodney Goodwin, who died four years ago. It’s a Mexican cultural tradition, as well as a Christian rite, to remember and honor loved ones, while many of us simply go trick-or-treating with our kids for Halloween or ignore the hoopla.

Carrillo has organized a colorful, joyful commemoration of the Day of Saints and Faithful Departed on Nov. 2, the day following All Saints Day, for the last 12 years at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.

A couple hours before the traditional Episcopal All Saints liturgy, people bring photos and mementos of their loved ones, as well as the food, wine, tequila and music they liked. They place it at the church’s altar. There’s a singing musical group that performs traditional Spanish music.

“People want to participate no matter what culture they come from, to honor their loved ones. We ask the congregation during the homily to go very deep and very personal,” Carrillo said. “It’s become something of a cultural bridge to bring our entire church together. More and more it’s becoming the norm to make space for untraditional services, especially Mexican-American services.”

Episcopal churches handle this time of year in different ways, from spooky storytelling and safe trick-or-treating events to themed liturgies and harvest festivals. All of it is family friendly. No truly scary monsters here.

Silent film organist Peter Krasinski stands inside the pipe chamber of the 1894 Hook & Hastings organ at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. Photo: Peter Berton

Halloween and the commemorations that come the two days afterward — such as All Saints Day, Faithful Departed and the Hispanic Day of the Dead — have a mix of pagan and Christian roots.

The ancient Celts celebrated the Samhain (pronounced sah-win) festival on Nov. 1. The Gaelic festival marked the end of harvest season and the start of winter, or the darker half of the year. Today’s Halloween traditions of carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples originated from this pagan festival.

The night before the festival, they believed the dead returned as ghosts. “They would leave food and wine on their doorsteps to keep roaming spirits at bay,” according to the History Channel, “and wear masks when they leave the house so they’d be mistaken for fellow ghosts.”

Samhain traditions were blended into the Christian Church’s All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, as culture evolved in the 8th century. The night before became All Hallows Eve, later shortened to Halloween.

In 2001, the Rev. Charles T.A. Flood provided his version of one of many prayers for Episcopalians on All Saints Day. It begins: “We remember the saints in the security of our hearts, those whom we have carried within us since childhood, those with whom we speak in the dark moments of cold and loneliness and those who give us, by their example, the courage the go forth and prevail…”

The Episcopal Church also offers an All Hallows Eve liturgy in its Book of Occasional Services.

At Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas, there’s a Boo Bash for congregation members as well as downtown neighbors, who often have nowhere to trick-or-treat. This year, the welcoming and evangelizing event is Oct. 27. Cathedral organist Daryl Robinson will offer a “haunting” postlude after a brief All Hallows Eve prayer service. Children get the unusual chance to look at the organ console up close while Robinson plays seasonal favorites such as “Thriller” and “The Addams Family.” There’s still yellow caution tape and a sign saying “Please don’t feed the organist” as a light-hearted way to keep kids from disturbing the impressive instrument, says KariAnn Lessner, one of the Boo Bash organizers.

Left to right: Christy Orman and family members Lorelei, Jolene, Grace, Kathy and Vanina celebrated at the Boo Bash in 2016 at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas. Photo: Alex Orman

Children are encouraged to wear nonviolent, non-scary costumes and trick-or-treat in Reynolds Hall at stations hosted by cathedral members. In the event’s previous two years, more than 100 families arrived dressed up as characters from “Batman,” “The Incredibles” and “Alice in Wonderland.” A scavenger hunt, food and games are part of the fun.

“I think God just delights in the fact that kids can have fun in his house,” Lessner said. “It feels very much like a neighborhood, very much like family and I feel little bit of awe. It’s really kinda epic.”

For the first time at Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York, there will be an All Hallows Eve liturgy and tour on the day itself, Oct. 31. The event will tell the story of the cathedral’s founders, A.T. and Cornelia Stewart.

The cathedral was built with the sole funding of Cornelia Stewart as a mausoleum for her husband, who was the founder of Garden City, Vieira said by email. While the building was being constructed, his body was temporarily placed in the cemetery at St. Mark’s on the Bowery in New York City.

Then his body was stolen by grave robbers and held for ransom.

For the “haunted” tour, volunteers in Victorian-era costumes will re-enact the funeral service with a borrowed casket from a local funeral home. Guests will walk through the imaginary graveyard with A.T. Stewart’s temporary grave and witness the grave robbery. The tour ends in the crypt where A.T. and Cornelia are buried. Then begins the All Hallows Eve liturgy from the Book of Occasional Services, featuring the biblical readings of the Witch of Endor and the Valley of Dry Bones.

“We think it’s a great way to keep the ‘spirit’ of the day and engage in the unique history of our cathedral. At the same time, it’s a way to get people to church on a day that has become completely secularized,” Kris Vieira, assistant to the dean of the cathedral, said by email.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is participating in a city-wide trick-or-treating effort, plus providing more fun such as pumpking-carving. Photo: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Aside from the special Faithful Departed service in Pasadena, All Saints church has separate Spanish-speaking services every week in addition to the English-speaking ones. Carrillo has been a leader on the Hispanic/Latino committee and immigration task force, trying to make transplants from Mexico and other cultures feel welcome.

“But we always honor our Episcopalian and Anglican traditions,” Carrillo said. “We understand that we live in an ever-changing, more multicultural world and that we have to be open to welcoming everyone, without losing our Episcopalian tradition.”

At the Nov. 2 celebration, people are encouraged to stand up and tell a story of their loved ones. At the end of the service, everyone has a chance to call out their loved ones’ names, and then the rest of the congregation says “presente!” to acknowledge their presence.

“It helps me remember him, remember his smile, remember how good he was, not only to me, but to everyone he met,” Carrillo said about Goodwin. “It’s a feeling of joy when I see his picture on the altar. When I call his name and everyone yells ‘presente,’ I feel happy.

“It gives me chills … and I see other people crying because they’re happy.”

Check out what a few other Episcopal churches across the United States are doing for their celebrations:

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

Church Pension Group’s ‘centennial conversations’ begin dialogue

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 6:10pm

[Episcopal News Service – New York, New York] The implications of declines in church-going and the aging trend of people who do go to church do not all have to be gloom and doom. Instread, they can prompt Episcopalians to be agents of change in the church and in the world.

That was the hopeful message heard by people participating in the first of four Insights & Ideas events, held in recognition of the Church Pension Group’s 100 years service to the Episcopal Church. The so-called “Centennial Conversation,” held at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan, featured two panels of experts, as well as interaction with audience members.

“Some see the aging of the church as the gasp of a great church. I just don’t see that at all,” said the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, acting/interim dean at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York. “I don’t think we need to worry about the death of forms and shapes and ministries that it’s taken. The church is going on.”

Daniel said the church is “being challenged both by culture and our own numbers to reimagine how we go about doing church, how we go about diaconal, priestly and episcopal ministry.”

“Through all that the Pension Fund has been a stream of support and encouragement,” he said.

Daniel was responding to the statistics and anecdotal evidence offered in the first panel: “The Demographics of a Changing Church” examined demographics, deployment and compensation trends impacting the church now and in the future.

Mark Chaves, professor of sociology, religious studies and divinity at Duke University, outlined seven of what he said were many possible trends with which to tell the story of American religion in the 21st century. He listed the following trends, reflecting the full spectrum of faiths and denominations:

Declining average congregational size
Chaves said the average number of “regular participants” in congregations stood at 80 in 1998 and is now down to 70.

Clergy working fewer hours
Six percent of all clergy were employed part time in 1998, and now 15 percent are. Part-time employment is defined as working less than 35 hours a week.

Greater concentration of churchgoers in the country’s largest congregations
The largest 7 percent of the country’s congregations (defined as having 400 members or more) contain half of all churchgoers, one third of all ministers employed full time and two-thirds of all those employed part-time. Chaves said this trend, which is “intensifying,” began around 1975 and hasn’t yet peaked. Members of these large congregations tend to give less money and participate in fewer church activities, he said. The large congregations are attracting members from medium-size congregations, not from outside of the church, he said. Congregations with less than 100 members are also growing, according to Chaves.

Greater ethnic diversity in predominantly white congregations
The number of completely white congregations accounted for 25 percent of the total number of congregations in 1998 but has since declined to 11 percent. There are few of what Chaves called “deeply diverse” congregations but rather many white congregations with a “smattering” of other ethnicities. This trend, he said, “has staying power” whose implications are worth pondering. Even in congregations with those “smatterings” are changed by the membership of non-white congregants, he said. “Church works differently and preachers preach differently,” Chaves said.

Aging of both clergy and congregants
Only one third of all churchgoers belong to congregations with clergy who are younger than 50, according to Chaves. Meanwhile, the number of congregants who were older than 60 has increased from 29 percent in 1998 to 37 percent now. And whereas 30 percent were younger than 35 in 1998, that rate has declined to 25 percent.

Greater gender inclusion
While Chaves said there is evidence of more congregations being open to being led by women, only 11 percent have female clergy leaders.

Greater sexual orientation inclusion
This trend tends to reflect cultural changes, Chaves said. That reflection includes variation across denominations.

The data Chaves presented come from the National Congregational Survey, which has been ongoing since 1998.

Matthew Price, CPG senior vice president for research and data, discussed how the Episcopal Church’s demographics fit into the picture Chaves painted. In 1967, when CPG celebrated its 50th anniversary, the so-called “traditional model” for clergy leadership was the norm, Price suggested. Clergy were employed full time by a single Episcopal Church employer. He rarely had his service interrupted and always saw his salary increase. Once he retired, he rarely did regular work in the church.

Today, only 58 percent of clergy now fit into that model, Price said, but 44 percent wish that they could take advantage of the aspects of that traditional model. Instead, they work with in a model that typically features part-time work for multiple church employers along with some employment outside the church. Many clergy have their ministerial service interrupted for many different reasons. Their compensation does not necessarily increase over time, and many clerics continue to work after their retirement.

In fact, 58 percent of retired clergy younger than 72 still serve in come capacity, and 95 percent of retired vocational deacons do the same, Price said. “For many parishes, this is a lifeline,” he added.

Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, said 88 percent of VTS Master of Divinity graduates over the last five years have found jobs centered in the more traditional model of ministry Price described. The average age of its class is now 32, which is a decline from recent years. The graduates VTS sends to the church, he said, have “energy and passion.”

“And they believe in the church; they’re impressed with the Episcopal Church,” he added. “I think they will make a difference over the next 30 years.”

So, he said, while the school does not seem to have a placement problem, it does have a recruitment problem, which he attributed in part to a vicious cycle of stories of decline that prompt some people to reject the possibility of a career in the church. That rejection can, in turn, add more stories of decline.

The second panel, titled “Investing for Positive Impact,” discussed ways in which CPG invests some of its money to achieve measurable social and environmental impacts alongside competitive financial returns. Speaking on that issue were Casey C. Clark, Glenmede Corp. director of sustainable and impact investing; Michele Giddens, co-founder, Bridges Fund Management; Meredith Jenkins, Trinity Church Wall Street chief investment officer; Solomon Owayda, founding partner, Mozaic Capital; and Alan Snoddy, managing director, Church Pension Fund.

Participants were encouraged to think about how they, too, can invest in ways that bring a good financial return while doing good in the world. That goal of “doing good in the world,” Giddens suggested, can come by way of investing to encourage change as well as the more traditional goal of socially responsible investing, of refusing to invest in business perceived to harm people and the world. Examples would be tobacco companies and weapons manufacturing.

Mary Kate Wold, CPG’s chief executive officer and president who moderated both discussions, also noted that, when needed, the fund advocates for “better behavior” by businesses in which it invests – by means of shareholder resolutions and, sometimes, “just a constant badgering that may go on for years.” It tries to convince companies why CPG’s stances that are aligned with the Episcopal Church’s values are also good business decisions.

Clark of Glenmede commended the efforts that Wold described, saying if every investor made decisions that echoed what CPG did, “there would be enormous impact.”

And Giddens of Bridges Fund Management said such investing philosophies are still a minority school of thought “and there’s still a lot of to fight for.” CPG’s investment decisions, she said, especially in the arena of socially responsible investing, serve as a signal to other investors, encouraging them to take the same steps.

This video was shown during the second session as an illustration of CPG’s social responsible investing efforts.

Additional Issues and Insights events will take place in Minneapolis (Nov. 3), Houston (Jan. 24) and San Francisco (Feb. 7). The conversations are especially meant for clergy and those who serve the Episcopal Church professionally, wardens and vestry members, according to a press release. Each event will follow the same pattern as the New York one, with the two panel discussions.

About CPG

Canon I.8 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons (page 41 here) authorizes the Church Pension Fund provide retirement, health, and life insurance benefits to clergy and lay employees of the Episcopal Church. With approximately $13 billion in assets, CPF and its affiliated companies are known collectively the Church Pension Group. CPG also offers property and casualty insurance as well as book and music publishing, including the official worship materials of the Episcopal Church such as The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982

— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is interim managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

How these Episcopal churches handle Halloween

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 5:24pm

The placement of multicolored decor, photos, mementos and skulls on the altar at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, is part of the congregation’s Nov. 2 event to honor loved ones who’ve passed away. It’s one aspect of the All Saints and Faithful Departed holiday rooted in Mexican cultural traditions. Photo: Carlos Carrillo/ All Saints Episcopal Church

[Episcopal News Service] At the start of November, Carlos Carrillo thinks of his ancestors, deceased family members and his partner of 18 years, Rodney Goodwin, who died four years ago. It’s a Mexican cultural tradition, as well as a Christian rite, to remember and honor loved ones, while many of us simply go trick-or-treating with our kids for Halloween or ignore the hoopla.

Carrillo has organized a colorful, joyful commemoration of the Day of Saints and Faithful Departed on Nov. 2, the day following All Saints Day, for the last 12 years at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.

A couple hours before the traditional Episcopal All Saints liturgy, people bring photos and mementos of their loved ones, as well as the food, wine, tequila and music they liked. They place it at the church’s altar. There’s a singing musical group that performs traditional Spanish music.

“People want to participate no matter what culture they come from, to honor their loved ones. We ask the congregation during the homily to go very deep and very personal,” Carrillo said. “It’s become something of a cultural bridge to bring our entire church together. More and more it’s becoming the norm to make space for untraditional services, especially Mexican-American services.”

Episcopal churches handle this time of year in different ways, from spooky storytelling and safe trick-or-treating events to themed liturgies and harvest festivals. All of it is family friendly. No truly scary monsters here.

Silent film organist Peter Krasinski stands inside the pipe chamber of the 1894 Hook & Hastings organ at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. The church hosted PipeScreams on the Point, a family-friendly Halloween organ recital with wacky overtones. Photo: Peter Berton

Halloween and the commemorations that come the two days afterward — such as All Saints Day, Faithful Departed and the Hispanic Day of the Dead — have a mix of pagan and Christian roots.

The ancient Celts celebrated the Samhain (pronounced sah-win) festival on Nov. 1. The Gaelic festival marked the end of harvest season and the start of winter, or the darker half of the year. Today’s Halloween traditions of carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples originated from this pagan festival.

The night before the festival, they believed the dead returned as ghosts. “They would leave food and wine on their doorsteps to keep roaming spirits at bay,” according to the History Channel, “and wear masks when they leave the house so they’d be mistaken for fellow ghosts.”


Samhain traditions were blended into the Christian Church’s All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, as culture evolved in the 8th century. The night before became All Hallows Eve, later shortened to Halloween.

In 2001, the Rev. Charles T.A. Flood provided his version of one of many prayers for Episcopalians on All Saints Day. It begins: “We remember the saints in the security of our hearts, those whom we have carried within us since childhood, those with whom we speak in the dark moments of cold and loneliness and those who give us, by their example, the courage the go forth and prevail…”

The Episcopal Church also offers an All Hallows Eve liturgy in its Book of Occasional Services.

At Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas, there’s a Boo Bash for congregation members as well as downtown neighbors, who often have nowhere to trick-or-treat. This year, the welcoming and evangelizing event is Oct. 27. Cathedral organist Daryl Robinson will offer a “haunting” postlude after a brief All Hallows Eve prayer service. Children get the unusual chance to look at the organ console up close while Robinson plays seasonal favorites such as “Thriller” and “The Addams Family.” There’s still yellow caution tape and a sign saying “Please don’t feed the organist” as a light-hearted way to keep kids from disturbing the impressive instrument, says KariAnn Lessner, one of the Boo Bash organizers.

Left to right: Christy Orman and family members Lorelei, Jolene, Grace, Kathy and Vanina celebrated at the Boo Bash in 2016 at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas. Photo: Alex Orman

Children are encouraged to wear nonviolent, non-scary costumes and trick-or-treat in Reynolds Hall at stations hosted by cathedral members. In the event’s previous two years, more than 100 families arrived dressed up as characters from “Batman,” “The Incredibles” and “Alice in Wonderland.” A scavenger hunt, food and games are part of the fun.

“I think God just delights in the fact that kids can have fun in his house,” Lessner said. “It feels very much like a neighborhood, very much like family and I feel little bit of awe. It’s really kinda epic.”

For the first time at Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York, there will be an All Hallows Eve liturgy and tour on the day itself, Oct. 31. The event will tell the story of the cathedral’s founders, A.T. and Cornelia Stewart.

The cathedral was built with the sole funding of Cornelia Stewart as a mausoleum for her husband, who was the founder of Garden City, Vieira said by email. While the building was being constructed, his body was temporarily placed in the cemetery at St. Mark’s on the Bowery in New York City.

Then his body was stolen by grave robbers and held for ransom.

For the “haunted” tour, volunteers in Victorian-era costumes will re-enact the funeral service with a borrowed casket from a local funeral home. Guests will walk through the imaginary graveyard with A.T. Stewart’s temporary grave and witness the grave robbery. The tour ends in the crypt where A.T. and Cornelia are buried. Then begins the All Hallows Eve liturgy from the Book of Occasional Services, featuring the biblical readings of the Witch of Endor and the Valley of Dry Bones.

“We think it’s a great way to keep the ‘spirit’ of the day and engage in the unique history of our cathedral. At the same time, it’s a way to get people to church on a day that has become completely secularized,” Kris Vieira, assistant to the dean of the cathedral, said by email.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is participating in a city-wide trick-or-treating effort, plus providing more fun such as pumpkin-carving. Photo: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Aside from the special Faithful Departed service in Pasadena, All Saints church has separate Spanish-speaking services every week in addition to the English-speaking ones. Carrillo has been a leader on the Hispanic/Latino committee and immigration task force, trying to make transplants from Mexico and other cultures feel welcome.

“But we always honor our Episcopalian and Anglican traditions,” Carrillo said. “We understand that we live in an ever-changing, more multicultural world and that we have to be open to welcoming everyone, without losing our Episcopalian tradition.”

At the Nov. 2 celebration, people are encouraged to stand up and tell a story of their loved ones. At the end of the service, everyone has a chance to call out their loved ones’ names, and then the rest of the congregation says “presente!” to acknowledge their presence.

“It helps me remember him, remember his smile, remember how good he was, not only to me, but to everyone he met,” Carrillo said about Goodwin. “It’s a feeling of joy when I see his picture on the altar. When I call his name and everyone yells ‘presente,’ I feel happy.

“It gives me chills … and I see other people crying because they’re happy.”

Check out what a few other Episcopal churches across the United States are doing for their celebrations:

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

After 174-year wait, cathedral prepares for consecration in Auckland, New Zealand

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 4:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] In 1843, the first Bishop of New Zealand, George Augustus Selwyn, purchased land for a cathedral in Auckland, On Oct. 28 – 174 years later – the finally-completed Holy Trinity cathedral will be consecrated. The cathedral’s foundation stone wasn’t laid until 1957 – some 114 after the land was purchased. Work on the cathedral finally came to an end this year, following the completion of a “Selwyn’s Vision” project to complete the work he started.

Read the full article here.

After 174-year wait, cathedral prepares for consecration in Auckland, New Zealand

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 4:48pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] In 1843, the first Bishop of New Zealand, George Augustus Selwyn, purchased land for a cathedral in Auckland, On Oct. 28 – 174 years later – the finally-completed Holy Trinity cathedral will be consecrated. The cathedral’s foundation stone wasn’t laid until 1957 – some 114 after the land was purchased. Work on the cathedral finally came to an end this year, following the completion of a “Selwyn’s Vision” project to complete the work he started.

Read the full article here.

Pakistan politician speaking at Anglican event rejects treating non-Muslims as minorities

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 4:44pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The leader of Pakistan’s Jamat-e-Islami political party, Senator Siraj ul Haq, has said that non-Muslims should not be referred to as minorities or put into an inferiority complex. Senator ul Haq, who has led the Islamist party since March 2014, made his comments at an event to mark the completion of the Diocese of Peshawar’s two-year peace and harmony project.

Read the full article here.

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