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Public Policy Network announces refugee advocacy campaign

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 1:36pm

[Episcopal Public Policy Network] The Episcopal Public Policy Network is launching a nationwide advocacy campaign in support of refugees. Over the next two months, we’re challenging Episcopalians to call their national, state, and local elected officials at least four times. Now, more than ever, people of faith must make their voices heard. We have created a 2×4 Fight for Refugees Campaign page with numbers to dial and a sample script on our website.


On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that halted the refugee resettlement program for 120 days, significantly lowered the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., and barred Syrian refugees from being resettled to the U.S. We recognize the need for our nation to be secure, but we believe that the thorough and often multi-year vetting process eliminates those with violent extremist ideologies and those who seek to harm our country. We believe our current policies balance humanitarian needs with security priorities. This pause in the program and the orders to bar entry to certain individuals will have devastating effects on the lives of refugees waiting for protection through resettlement.

The Episcopal Church, through Episcopal Migration Ministries, is one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S. refugee resettlement is a life-saving ministry. Episcopalians around the country engage in the work of welcome every day. We have seen that refugees, once welcomed to our communities, become integral parts of our neighborhoods as friends, business owners, students, doctors, and more.

We urge you to join the 2×4 Fight for Refugees Campaign to let your elected officials know that you welcome refugees.

In the bleak midwinter, Standing Rock Episcopal ministry is changing

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 8:48am

An Episcopal Church flag has flown at Oceti Sakowin Camp for months. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Reservation are seeing their ministry change as the camps formed by water protectors along the Missouri River protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline are slowly closing.

The temperature in the area may have climbed to 40 degrees on Jan. 30 but it is still the bleak midwinter in North Dakota and March can be the state’s snowiest month, according to the National Weather Service. Tribal officials have said that the harshness of the winter is making the camps unsafe and they are worried about the protectors’ safety when spring melts the snow and the Missouri runs high.

The effort to close the camps began before Jan. 24 when Donald Trump called for the rapid approval of the pipeline’s final phase. The Cannon Ball tribal district Jan. 19 asked the protectors to leave and the entire tribal council supported that move the next day. However, tribal leaders also point to the president’s efforts in urging their supporters to redirect their advocacy.

“We understand and acknowledge the power of the camps in bringing us this far in our fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the tribe said Jan. 26 on its Facebook page. “We maintain, however, that given current conditions, both physical and political, the focus must shift from maintaining camps to being at the political and legal forefront. The new regime will not respond to the camps with moderate actions; the tribe is not willing to place its citizens nor its battle against DAPL in jeopardy where so much that has been accomplished can be lost.”

The tribe’s statement acknowledged that many people want to return to the camps because of Trump’s Jan. 24 actions. “We stress, however, that further actions at the camp and at the bridge and drill pad are not where we will find success in this struggle moving forward,” the tribe said. “We need to be able to focus our energy on the intense government-to-government political situation and not the camps. Please do not return, but instead put your heart and effort into supporting the battle for clean water from your various homes around the globe.”

The bridge referred to in the statement is the closed Backwater Bridge on North Dakota Highway 1806. It has been both a focus of protests and a symbol of the disruption caused by the monthlong encampments. The remaining work on the pipeline would push the pipeline under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Reservation. The pipeline company has set up a drill pad very near the proposed crossing point, which is upstream from the tribe’s reservation boundaries, and the tribe has water, treaty fishing and hunting rights in the lake.

The 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline is poised to carry up to 570,000 gallons of oil a day from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota – through South Dakota and Iowa – to Illinois where it will be shipped to refineries. The pipeline was to pass within one-half mile of the Standing Rock Reservation and Sioux tribal leaders repeatedly expressed concerns over the potential for an oil spill that would damage the reservation’s water supply, and the threat the pipeline posed to sacred sites and treaty rights. The company developing the pipeline, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says it will be safe.

The closure of the Backwater Bridge on North Dakota Highway 1806 had become a point of contention between water protectors and local residents. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

“The tribe is not expelling people,” the Rev. John Floberg, priest-in-charge of Episcopal Church congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock, agreed.

However, he said in a Jan. 30 interview with Episcopal News Service, the tribe is telling people that the winter has been so harsh that remaining in the camps can be fatal in a land where wind chills have reached as low as -60 degrees. The tribe also wants debris in the camp removed. People took good care of the camps, Floberg said, but a Dec. 5 blizzard inundated the area, collapsing and burying tents and other flimsy structures – debris that the tribe wants to ensure that spring floods do not sweep into the river.

Many residents say they are tired of the Backwater Bridge being closed because it is their primary route to work and hospital services. The Cannon Ball community gym, used for sports, meetings and funerals, is in need of cleaning and repairs due to serving as an emergency shelter for protesters, some of whom continue to stay there, according to Floberg and the Bismarck Tribune newspaper.

There has been some division in the loosely led Oceti Sakowin camp about whether to stay or leave, Floberg said, adding that from what he can tell the majority agrees with the tribe and is working to shut down the camp. Some campers have moved off the bottomland near the river to the top of so-called Facebook Hill. Some water protectors in the Rosebud Camp asked Floberg for his help in shutting down their camp but the Sacred Stone Camp, which is on privately owned land, is still welcoming people, he said.

Oceti Sakowin organizers have said in an undated posting on the camp’s website that “the sacred fire of the Seven Councils has been put to sleep” but that the fire “can be lit in our hearts internally and spirituality forever.” The webpage asks occupants “to evacuate as soon as possible for safety reasons.”

While the tribe had originally set a Jan. 30 deadline, it now seems that protectors have until Feb. 19. Floberg said he understands that as of that day tribal leaders will no longer use its “political weight” to stand as a buffer between a camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other federal officials and the state of North Dakota.

Floberg and local Episcopalians have been practicing a ministry of presence in the camps and in their local churches since the summer. They have funneled some donations to the Sioux Tribe to help cover the costs of dumpsters and portable toilets. An Episcopal area at Oceti Sakowin has been a gathering point for those efforts. Episcopal chaplains were there when the Dec. 5 storm hit.

Oceti Sakowin camp spreads out along land near where the Missouri River meets the Cannonball River. North Dakota Highway 1806 runs across the top of the photo. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

These days, the ministry is changing. Floberg and some members of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, the closest town to the camps, recently discovered a military-style tent in Oceti Sakowin filled with what he estimated is 100,000 pounds of food. It is mostly flour, beans and macaroni, which Floberg said can be salvaged. However, they also found canned vegetables that most likely have frozen and may not be usable. The food cache grew over the months as people coming to the camps brought food donations, Floberg said. The salvageable food is being donated to people living on Standing Rock and on the nearby Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

“Our glamorous work of being protestors is now about moving flour bags,” Floberg said with a chuckle.

Episcopalians could see what sort of work was going to be needed at the camps and positioned themselves to do that work, he said. That planning included using some of the money donated to the Diocese of North Dakota to buy a skip steer loader, a small, engine-powered machine with lift arms that a person can drive and use to move heavy loads and perform other tasks. Donations also covered the cost of a large covered trailer for hauling the food away and storing it.

Local Episcopalians are grateful for those donations and “we’re still making use of them in the best ways that we know at any given a time and will continue to do that,” Floberg said.

The changes in their ministry has been guided by listening to what the tribal council is saying and what Chairman Dave Archambault II is saying, and then trying to figure out how Episcopalians can assist. “It’s when the tribe is engaged outside of itself that we step in to stand with Standing Rock and make clear our position of support for what they have decided to do,” he said.

“When it comes to internal decisions being made within the tribe, the Church doesn’t weigh in on whether the tribe should do this or that,” Floberg said. Episcopalians who are tribal members will weigh in on those issues and “we expect their good conscience to guide them.”

A line of water protectors face law enforcement officials at the drill pad set up for the final phase of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux have asked that such protests end and water protectors leave. Photo: Oceti Sakowin via Facebook

Floberg and others are staunch in their desire to support the tribe’s decisions. However, Floberg said, it is difficult to serve all of the community when some members are frustrated with the camps, others are frustrated with tribal decisions and others are frustrated by those who are frustrated.

For instance, can people in the camps still come to St. James in Cannon Ball to fill their water cans if the church supports the tribe’s decision that the camps should close?

“Is that supporting the camp to remain open when the tribe has asked it to close or is it simply responding to basic human need? After all, we’ve heard it: Water is life,” Floberg explained.

“Right now, until Feb. 19, our position can be rather clear. If water is needed and we have that resource available, we’ll make it available to those who need water. … We believe we can be faithful to standing with Standing Rock while at the same time wanting the tribe to understand the Church always will respond to humanitarian need.”

When that Feb. 19 deadline comes around Floberg and others “will have to listen again” to what tribal leaders are saying to determine how to support that tribe from that point.

The Episcopal Church has been standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s position on the pipeline since summer 2016. Local Episcopalians have also provided a ministry of presence in and around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which has been the focal point for the groups of water protectors that gathered near the proposed crossing. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry visited the area in September and many Episcopalians, both lay and ordained, answered Floberg’s call to stand in witness with the water protectors in November.

Previous ENS coverage of the Episcopal Church’s work with Standing Rock is here.

Floberg said he thinks the pipeline protests galvanized people for other actions. Some marched in the various Women’s Marches on Jan. 21 and he told Episcopal News Service Jan. 30 that he knows some water protectors who were among the people who went to the San Francisco airport Jan. 28 and 29 to protest Trump’s refugee ban.

“It awoke our Church to getting engaged and so a lot of our members have,” he said.

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

Canada: Christian leaders express solidarity with Muslims following Quebec attack

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 4:50am

[Anglican Journal] Anglicans and other Christian leaders have expressed their “sympathy and solidarity” with Muslims following a deadly attack Sunday night on a mosque in the Ste-Foy neighborhood of Quebec City.

The attack, which left six people dead and 19 others wounded, occurred just before 8 p.m., Jan.29, when a gunman opened fire while evening prayers were underway at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.  Alexandre Bissonnette is being detained as a suspect in the case.

In a January 30 statement, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said his heart “goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack,” and that the church holds in its prayers the victims of the attack, their families and their imams. Hiltz also led national office staff in a 15-minute candlelight service at the Chapel of the Holy Apostles in Toronto to pray for the victims, their families, the Muslim community, the people of Quebec and Canada.

Full article.

Diocese of Texas releases Spanish resource to help newcomer ministries

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 4:38am

[Diocese of Texas] The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has announced the release of Juntos en Mision: Invitación, Bienvenida y Conexión, a digital training series for Spanish-speaking congregations. Juntos en Mision was developed to help parishioners learn to invite, welcome and connect visitors and new members as well as strengthen their existing ministries. The five-part video series, redeveloped by the diocese’s Commission on Hispanic Ministry from the popular Invite Welcome Connect program, is available for online viewing or download with accompanying checklists and resource lists at no charge.

Juntos en Mision is meant to support newcomer ministries in congregational development, help to build relationships with new and existing parishioners and encourage members to be proactive about including others into their communities in the church’s ministry and life of faith. No training is necessary to facilitate the program.

“I am grateful to our Commission on Hispanic Ministry for the work they did in preparing the scripts for this valuable training,” said Texas Bishop Andy Doyle. “We know how important it is to welcome new people in a manner that invites them to return as part of our community of faith, and this training provides the first step in that effort.”

Cost of producing the video series was underwritten by the diocese and is available to any Spanish-speaking congregation in the U.S. or abroad. “The series will be online so anyone for whom it might be valuable will be able to access it,” Doyle said.

In 2015, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas did a marketing study on ministry to the Spanish-speaking community, gathering data from numerous focus groups. Feedback from Hispanic non-members revealed there was little or no knowledge of the Episcopal Church, although the worship service and ethos of the Episcopal Church appealed to them, once informed. Active church members revealed a need for resources to help them reach into their communities.

The Commission developed the line: “God’s love has no boundaries” (Dios no tiene fronteras) as a unified statement to reflect the diocesan efforts to help Spanish-speaking congregations reach their broader communities. The Diocese also built a dozen mobile-friendly websites for Latino congregations, anchored by www.iglesiaepiscopaltx.com, developed informational cards about the Episcopal Church in Spanish and helped to train local parishioners in social media over the last year. Juntos en Mision is the latest resource to be completed. A new digital newsletter to help the Latino congregations connected and share information will launch this spring.

For more information on Juntos en Mision: Invitación, Bienvenida y Conexión please contact ­­­Paulette Martin, pmartin@epicenter.org or call 713-520-6444 or visit www.epicenter.org/juntos-en-mision.

Bishop Franklin Calls Western New York Episcopalians to action

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:58pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Western New York] Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has called for Episcopalians in Western New York to join in opposition to the executive order issued by President Trump on Friday limiting the ability of immigrants and refugees to travel to the United States.

We are all immigrants:

A statement on President Trump’s executive order

Our Diocesan Lenten Program in the Diocese of Western New York this year is called “A Space for Grace”. The program will use Scripture and pieces of modern writing as launching pads for us to talk about our own stories and how those stories are informing our lives in the world today.

I have been thinking and praying all weekend about how to respond to President Trump’s executive order regarding travelers, immigrants and refugees and it seemed to me that using my own story was a place to start.

I am the husband and father-in-law of immigrants. My wife, Carmela, and her family came to the United States from Italy. I am blessed every day by the presence of Carmela and I literally cannot imagine my life without her. Carmela is a scholar and a professor and she has impacted the lives of her students and the institutions that she has served. The ripples of influence of the different perspective as well as the love of America that Carmela has brought cannot be measured. That influence is repeated by the life and work of every immigrant to our country. I see the same impact from the presence of my son-in-law, Dr. Rey Ramirez, whose father is from a family of Mexican immigrants. In my own family, I see the great benefits to this country of the presence of immigrants.

I grew up in the segregated South. I have seen the horrible impact of laws and practices based on fear and discrimination. It is not only those who are discriminated against who suffer. The whole society is warped and lives of everyone in the society are limited and maimed when we act out of fear, especially when we act out of fear of those who are different from us. The ripples of the negative effects of laws and practices that separate us from each other are as far reaching as the ripples of positive effects from immigrants in our society.

I am an historian. I have spent my life studying the past. I speak with knowledge and authority when I say that there is no time in the history of this country or any other, when excluding people based on race or religion or clan has been of benefit to the society that is excluding others. From the ancient Israelites through Europe in the Middle Ages to the multiple times in the history of the United States when we have excluded people based on race or religion or ethnic origin, it has always been detrimental. It comes back to the fact that acting out of fear is always the wrong choice. History teaches us this over and over and over again.

I am a proud citizen of Buffalo. Buffalo is a city formed by immigrants. From the Irish, Germans, Italian and Polish of the late 19th and early 20th century to the people from Syria, Burma, various nations of Africa, China, India and Japan today, immigrants have added to the economy and community and culture of Buffalo. The immigrants have made us what we are. It is hard to remember sometimes, but often immigrants have not been initially welcomed. The Irish were not welcomed, the Polish were not welcomed, the Germans were seen as enemy aliens and the Italian immigrants were accused of bringing a foreign religion and way of life. Today, we take great pride in being a city of immigrants and have festivals and restaurants and celebrations of the gifts they have brought. The same cycle is repeating with our newer immigrants. I am certain that in the, hopefully near, future, the Syrian and Burmese and Indian festivals will be every bit as much of the culture of Buffalo as the Italian festival, St. Patrick’s Day and Dyngus Day.

I am the Bishop of deacons and congregations involved in refugee resettlement. I have learned the difference between refugees and immigrants. There are no people who come to this country who are more thoroughly vetted then refugees. Refugees are fleeing the very people that we name as our enemies. In the last 40 years the number of American citizens killed by refugees in the entire United States can be counted on the fingers of one had. We are in no danger from the people who seek refugee from war and persecution in our country. This is what American was founded for – to be a place of refuge for all. That is what makes us a light to the world. Turning away refugees who have already been screened are have spent years proving themselves to a variety of government agencies is a betrayal of the founding principles of the United States of America. The draconian limits to the number of refugees in President Trump’s executive order is a betrayal of the spirit of America and the vision of our founders.

Most importantly, I am a follower of the God of Jesus Christ. It is not possible to read the Old Testament without hearing over and over and over again the call of God to his people to care for those in need, and particular to immigrants and foreigners. To give just one of hundreds of examples, as the people of Israel were preparing to enter the land that God had promised to them, God gave them instructions for the setting up of the society in the land that they were about to enter. God said this, “So circumcise your hearts and stop being so stubborn, because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. This means that you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:16-19 CEB, emphasis added). We are all immigrants, we, as the American people, are all immigrants every bit as much as the people of Israel were and God’s command does not change. As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must love immigrants. As Episcopalians we promise over and over again to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. This is one small part of that vow.

I call on the Diocese of Western New York to join with me in standing against President Trump’s executive order, both as it applies to limiting immigrants from seven nations and as it applies to stopping all refugees for 120 days and limiting the total number of refugees.

Contact your elected officials. The White House is not taking phone calls, but you can send letters directly to the President at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC, 20500. Call your congressional representatives and tell them that you oppose this action and ask them to do anything in their power to oppose it. Brian Higgins represents the 26th Congressional district. His office can be reached at 716-852-3501 or 716-282-1274. Chris Collins represents the 27th Congressional district. His office can be reached at 716-634-2324 or 585-519-4002.

Support the work of the ACLU who are holding our government accountable to our Constitution, laws and the vision of our founders. You can donate through their website at www.aclu.org

Commit to supporting the resettlement of refugees. There are several organizations in Buffalo the help refugees resettle and become a part of our community. Donate, volunteer, help in any way that you can. Journeys End is one that Episcopal congregations have worked with. Their web-site is jersbuffalo.org. Contact Archdeacon Tom Tripp at tomtripp2007@gmail.com to ask advice on a program at your congregation on refugee resettlement.

Above all pray. Pray for those who have been turned away from our country. Pray for those who are being detained. Pray for those who will face further persecution or even death because of this action. And pray for President Trump and his advisers, that God will turn their hearts.

The Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin

Bishop of Western New York

January 30, 2017

Baltimore seafarers center helps crew stranded in harbor by snafus

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:48pm

Director Mary Davisson (second from right) escorted representatives of the Philippines Embassy (in life vests) via a McAllister tug to visit with crew of the Newlead Granadino. Photo: Philippines Embassy and used with permission of captain

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] “If this had to happen to us, we’re glad it happened here.”

So said the crew of the cargo vessel M/T Newlead Granadino to the Rev. Mary Davisson, executive director and chaplain at the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center (BISC). The crew was marooned on board by immigration restrictions, corporate snafus and seaworthiness regulations.

The vessel finally docked in mid-January after four months anchored in Baltimore harbor. Since first learning of the vessel’s engine trouble and financial issues in September, BISC stayed in communication with International Transport Workers Federation’s hard-working inspector Barbara Shipley, Coast Guard officers, Seafarers International Union Port Agent Elizabeth Brown and other port partners.

One of Davisson’s first calls last fall was to Mission to Seafarers Project Manager Ben Bailey. BISC is affiliated with Mission to Seafarers, an international entity with Anglican roots. Bailey was very helpful in explaining how MTS might be able to help BISC supply emergency provisions. The crew of 18 was then virtually out of food and water at their anchorage. Fortunately, Shipley was quickly able to address the provisions problem through the manning agency and an interim ship management company hired by a bank.

Meanwhile, offers of help poured in from the entire Baltimore community and beyond. BISC’s ecumenical team of volunteers shopped for everything from rosaries to toothpaste and thermal underwear. The vessel’s boiler had broken and there was some delay in getting safe space heaters on board.

Believe Wireless Broadband (BISC’s own internet provider) supplied free internet. The Roman Catholic Apostleship of the Sea donated a television and other items. Seafarers International Union stored and sorted numerous donations of warm clothing and food from the wider community. Brown worked closely with Shipley in addressing crew needs. McAllister Towing, the Maryland Pilots, and Vane Brothers facilitated delivery of supplies and visits to the anchorage. Davisson has visited the crew at least nine times at anchorage and the dock, offering prayers, delivering donations, and checking on crew welfare.

The crew finally got paid. Twelve of the original 18 have now been repatriated. One was the captain, who emailed Davisson, “A big thank you to the whole community of Baltimore”!


Farewell service for the Archbishop of Wales

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The longest-serving Archbishop in the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, is stepping down this week as leader of the Church in Wales, as he marks his 70th birthday. More than 500 people attended a farewell service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, in celebration and thanksgiving for the contribution made by Morgan during his nearly 14 years as archbishop and 17 as bishop of Llandaff. In his  sermon, Morgan told the congregation it had been an “enormous privilege” to have served them and he thanked people for their support. He, in turn, was thanked warmly for all his ministry and given a standing ovation.

Full article.

Bruce W. Woodcock named partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 3:13pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rev. Bruce W. Woodcock has been named Episcopal Church partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff.

In his position as the partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific, Woodcock will be responsible for nurturing Episcopal Church relationships with Anglican Communion partners in the region and working with the Episcopal Church’s office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. He will serve as a resource for parishes, dioceses and institutions, and as a bridge in nurturing and promoting relationships with this region.

He is currently the interim pastor at St. Mary’s-in-Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park, New York (Diocese of New York) and has served congregations in the Diocese of Newark.

A former employee of Church Pension Group, his positions included manager, international relations & pastoral care; manager, international relations; manager, companion pension plan strategies; and manager, overseas pension plans.

Through his work at Church Pension Group, Woodcock notes extensive regional experience, with strong ongoing contact and personal ties with Anglican primates, provincial secretaries and staff officers in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and the Philippines, clergy in Guam/Saipan, along with the bishop, clergy and staff of the Diocese Taiwan.

His previous work at the Episcopal Church Center included as deputy to the senior executive for mission operations; deputy director of the world mission overseas development office; and assistant secretary for legislation for the General Convention.

He was elected an alternate deputy to the 73rd General Convention from the Diocese of New York and served on various council and committees in the diocese as well as the community.

He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and has worked on refugee and community development programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Woodcock holds a Master of Sacred Theology and a Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary; a Master of Arts in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont; and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Hobart College. He is the recipient of numerous certificates and awards and was named a canon of Trinity Cathedral, Monrovia, Liberia, in 2008.

The position is a member of the Episcopal Church Global Partnerships Office. Woodcock will be based in Nyack, NY. He will begin his new position on March 1.  At that time he will be available at bwoodcock@episcopalchurch.org.

English bishops call for ‘fresh tone’ to sexuality debate

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishops of the Church of England have ruled out any change to the Church’s doctrine on marriage and sexuality; while calling for a “fresh tone” in the way the issue is handled.

In a report on behalf of the House of Bishops published today (Jan. 27) ahead of next month’s meeting of the General Synod, the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, said that Anglicanism has always been “a contested tradition” where different views are held together; and he suggests that that this approach should be extended to sexuality. The bishops propose that existing law and guidance should be interpreted with “maximum freedom” without changes to the law, or the doctrine of the Church.

Full article.

Holocaust Memorial Day: Welby warns against ‘collusion with evil’

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:10pm

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Birkenau-Auschwitz earlier this month Photo: Lampal via ACNS

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has urged people to resist a “post-truth” culture “at every level and in every conversation and debate”. He made his comments in a speech at a memorial service in Westminster, London, last night (Jan. 26) in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day. Each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of Birkenau-Auschwitz – the international community reflects on the holocaust and other genocides.

In his speech, Archbishop Welby said: “I have just returned from a visit to Auschwitz – Birkenau, with 60 clergy; its witness is to appalling human suffering caused by the terrible collusion of the silent majority.

Full article.

Bradley S. Hauff named Episcopal Church indigenous missioner

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 4:04pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Rev. Bradley S. Hauff has been named the Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries, a member of the presiding bishop’s staff.

As missioner for indigenous ministries, Hauff will be responsible for enabling and empowering Indigenous peoples and their respective communities within the Episcopal Church. His primary focus will be leadership development, education and ministry development opportunities by and for Indigenous peoples by recognizing and empowering leaders from within the community.

As a member of the Episcopal Church Ethnic Ministries Office, Hauff will be based in Minneapolis, Minnestora. Hauff will begin his new position on Feb. 21.  At that time he will be available at bhauff@episcopalchurch.org.

Hauff has been rector of All Saints’ Torresdale Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (Diocese of Pennsylvania) since 2012. He previously served in congregations in the dioceses of Florida, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas. Hauff is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, headquartered in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He is a speaker, presenter and author on various Native American topics and issues.

For the church, he served on the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC); Board of Examining Chaplains in the Dioceses of Florida and Pennsylvania; and the Board of Trustees and adjunct faculty member at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois.

In Minneapolis, he was the director of the adolescent program for the Domestic Abuse Project.

He holds a Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Minnesota School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University; a Master of Education from South Dakota State University; and a Bachelor of Arts, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Presiding Bishop, other Episcopal leaders call on Trump to maintain refugee resettlement efforts

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 4:56pm

[Episcopal News Service] The presiding bishop and the director of Episcopal Migration Ministries both spoke out Jan. 25 in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration.

In addition, the Episcopal Public Policy Network issued a policy alert offering Episcopalians ways to become advocates on immigration and refugees.

Those efforts came on a day when Trump signed executive orders to begin construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.” The Washington Post reported that Trump, in an appearance at the Department of Homeland Security, also signed the first of a series of directives to put new restrictions on the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.

Trump’s orders can be found with others he has signed here.

Trump aides suggested that more directives could come later this week, according to the Post, including additional restrictions on people from Muslim-majority countries. The newspaper reported that it had received a leaked draft of a presidential executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” that calls for halting visas to people located in “countries of particular concern.” The newspaper said the order would fulfill a Trump campaign promise to start vetting would-be immigrants and visitors to the United States based partly on their opinions and ideology, and will immediately cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry; the Rev. E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries; and the public policy network spoke out against those anticipated actions.

Curry said refugee resettlement work is a ministry that the Episcopal Church and other churches and faith-based organizations cherish.

“The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work,” Curry said. “I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country.

“We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is great than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.”

Stevenson said any action to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program for a significant time “will mean that many of those who are the most vulnerable, the most at risk of further violence, the least likely to be able to fend for themselves, are now to be left without hope.”

“Such a position does not reflect who we are as a nation, or as a people of faith,” he said.

Each year the Episcopal Church’s Episcopal Migration Ministries works in partnership with its 30-member local affiliate network in 26 states, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe. This year, EMM anticipated welcoming 5,000 refugees to the United States from 32 countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan and Syria.

The agency assures safe passage and provides vital services for thousands of refugee families upon their arrival in America, including language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment and initial assistance with housing and transportation. For each family, the goal is self-reliance and self-determination.

EMM is one of nine such U.S. resettlement agencies that contract with the federal government to help resettle refugees approved for entry to the United States. Much of EMM funding comes through those contracts.

Stevenson said Trump’s anticipated restrictions on refugees would be characterized as steps to make the country safe. “Yet, isolating ourselves from the world does not make us safer; it only isolates us,” he said. “Being afraid of those who differ from us does not make us wise, or even prudent; it only traps us in an echo chamber of suspicion and anger, and stops us cold from loving as Christ loved.”

The United States cannot solve the problem of violence in other countries, Stevenson said, but “we can act morally and show leadership” by offering refugees a new life in a safe place. He pledged that EMM will “continue to minister to those who have fled their homes because of persecution, violence or war.”

“Through our network of affiliates across this country, and with the help of the wider Episcopal Church, we will welcome these men, women, and children who did not choose to become refugees,” Stevenson said. “In partnership with the other resettlement agencies, we will work with our government and local communities to provide a place of welcome.”

EMM had previously scheduled a webinar at 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 1 to discuss the causes of refugee crises and examine questions such as who is a refugee; how a refugee is resettled to the United States; how resettled refugees benefit their communities; and how people can engage with local communities to welcome refugees.

“The president has full authority to limit the number of refugees each year,” EPPN said in its policy alert. “It is critical that President Trump hear from faith leaders that oppose any kind of ban or drastic reduction on resettlement.”

The alert called on Episcopalians to speak against any policy that would bar refugees from resettlement based on religion or nationality, and encourage our government not to reduce the number of refugees who enter the United States.

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

Diocese in Europe explores implications of ‘post-Brexit Britain’

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 12:03pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s Diocese in Europe has begun exploring the implications that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) might have on British-national clergy deployed to the continent. At present, as members of the EU, British nationals – including clergy – can travel, reside, and work in any of the other 27-member states without requiring visas or work permits. That may change when Britain leaves the EU. There are also questions about whether the reciprocal healthcare arrangements for citizens of EU member states will also continue to apply to British nationals once the U.K. completes the withdrawal process.

Full article.

L’Évêque Primat et d’autres dirigeants épiscopaux demandent à Donald Trump de maintenir la réinstallation des réfugiés

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 7:05am

[Episcopal News Service] L’Évêque Primat et le directeur de l’organisme Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) se sont tous deux exprimés le 25 janvier pour anticiper les mesures du président Donald Trump concernant l’immigration.

Le réseau Episcopal Public Policy Network a, quant à lui, publié un avis d’alerte proposant aux épiscopaliens la possibilité de devenir défenseurs de l’immigration et des réfugiés.

Ces initiatives ont eu lieu le jour où Donald Trump a signé des décrets pour commencer la construction d’un mur à la frontière des États-Unis avec le Mexique et pour bloquer les subventions fédérales aux « villes sanctuaires » protégeant les immigrés. Le Washington Post a publié que Donald Trump, lors d’une visite au Département de la sécurité intérieure, a également signé la première d’une série de directives visant à appliquer de nouvelles restrictions à l’encontre de 11 millions d’immigrés estimés sans papiers aux États-Unis.

Ces décrets de Donald Trump ainsi que d’autres qu’il a signés se trouvent ici.

Les collaborateurs de Donald Trump ont suggéré que d’autres directives pourraient être émises plus tard cette semaine, selon le Washington Post, notamment des restrictions supplémentaires concernant les personnes provenant de pays à majorité musulmane. Le quotidien a rapporté qu’il avait eu communication de la version préliminaire d’un décret présidentiel intitulé : « comment protéger la nation contre des attaques terroristes de ressortissants étrangers » qui prévoit l’arrêt des visas aux personnes se trouvant dans des « pays particulièrement préoccupants ». Le quotidien a indiqué que le décret tiendrait une promesse de campagne de Donald Trump de contrôler les candidats à l’immigration et les visiteurs aux États-Unis, en partie sur la base de leurs opinions et idéologie et de cesser immédiatement la réinstallation des réfugiés syriens aux États-Unis.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry, le révérend E. Mark Stevenson, directeur d’EMM (Episcopal Migration Ministries), et le réseau de politique publique se sont élevés contre les mesures annoncées.

Michael Curry a déclaré que les travaux de réinstallation des réfugiés représentent un ministère qui tient à cœur à l’Église épiscopale ainsi qu’à d’autres églises et organismes confessionnels.

« Le travail de l’organisme EMM est l’œuvre de Dieu et nous montrons le visage de Dieu par le biais de l’entraide et de la compassion manifestées à travers ces travaux », explique Michael Curry. « Je demande au Président Trump de continuer sans interruption le travail en profondeur de notre programme de réinstallation des réfugiés, en prenant en compte le long processus d’attente et de contrôle qui se traduit pour les réfugiés par des mois et parfois des années d’attente pour entrer dans le pays.

« Nous demandons que nous continuions d’accepter autant de réfugiés que nous l’avons fait par le passé, en reconnaissant que le besoin est plus important que jamais. Nous demandons que les réfugiés de tous les pays soient pris en considération pour venir aux États-Unis et de ne pas bannir ceux qui viennent de pays nécessitant le plus notre aide ».

Mark Stevenson a déclaré que toute mesure visant à suspendre le programme américain de réinstallation des réfugiés pendant une durée significative « veut dire que beaucoup de ceux qui sont les plus vulnérables, les plus en danger de violence, ceux qui ont le moins de chance d’être en mesure de pourvoir à leurs propres besoins, vont maintenant être abandonnés sans aucun espoir ».

« Cette position ne reflète pas qui nous sommes en tant que nation ni en tant que croyants », a-t-il conclu.

Chaque année, l’organisme EMM de l’Église épiscopale travaille en partenariat avec son réseau d’affiliés locaux de 30 membres répartis dans 26 États ainsi qu’avec des diocèses, des communautés de foi et des bénévoles, pour accueillir des réfugiés provenant des zones de conflit à travers le monde. Cette année, EMM a prévu d’accueillir aux États-Unis 5 000 réfugiés de 32 pays, notamment de la République démocratique du Congo, de Birmanie, d’Afghanistan et de Syrie.

L’organisme assure un passage sûr et la prestation de services essentiels pour des milliers de familles de réfugiés à leur arrivée aux États-Unis, tels des cours de langue et d’orientation culturelle, des services d’emploi, les inscriptions pour les écoles et l’aide initiale en matière de logement et de transport. Pour chaque famille, l’objectif est l’autosuffisance et l’autodétermination.

EMM est l’un des neuf organismes de réinstallation des États-Unis sous contrat avec le gouvernement fédéral pour aider à réinstaller les réfugiés autorisés à entrer aux États-Unis. La majeure partie du financement d’EMM provient de ces contrats.

Selon Mark Stevenson, les restrictions que prévoit Donald Trump en ce qui concerne les réfugiés seraient considérées comme des mesures visant à rendre le pays plus sûr. « Et pourtant, nous isoler du monde ne nous met pas plus en sécurité, cela ne fait que nous isoler », poursuit-il. « Avoir peur de ceux qui sont différents de nous ne nous rend pas avisés ni même prudents ; cela ne fait que nous emprisonner dans une caisse de résonance de méfiance et de colère qui nous empêche totalement d’aimer comme le Christ a aimé ».

Trump signs Dakota Access Pipeline memo to speed process

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 6:55pm

At the White House Jan. 24, U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a presidential memorandum he had just signed related to the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

[Episcopal News Service] While reaction to President Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 actions designed to move forward both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines was swift, the immediate impact of his memoranda remained unclear.

Nothing in Trump’s memorandum on the Dakota Access Pipeline appears to force approval of the project but would try to speed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing environmental review process.

A presidential memorandum is somewhat different from a presidential executive order and some observers say it has a lesser impact.

Other observers wondered if Trump’s decision to sign the documents fit what they see as a pattern of Trump and his aides seeking to distract the media from other events happening as the administration gears up, including nomination hearings, ethics inquiries and changes to websites and policies that seem to curtail public input. Also published today was a proclamation that Trump signed soon after becoming president Jan. 20, declaring that day to be a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.”

In the Dakota Access Pipeline memo Trump tells the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate” the company’s request to finish the pipeline. The remaining work would push the pipeline under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation reservation. The proposed crossing is upstream from the tribe’s reservation boundaries, and the tribe has water, treaty fishing and hunting rights in the lake.

The Corps decided Dec. 4 to put that work on hold, cheering opponents, and conduct the environmental impact statement, including exploring alternative routes.

At the time, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry asked that “the assessment involve extensive consultation with affected populations, and that any plan going forward honor treaty obligations with the Standing Rock Sioux.”

However, Trump’s order says the Army shall “consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify” its Dec. 4 decision, revert to the Corps July 2016 environmental assessment and grant the required easement for the lake crossing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Nation said that Trump’s actions Jan. 24 violate the law and tribal treaties. Saying it will take legal action against Trump’s efforts, the tribe added, “Nothing will deter us from our fight for clean water.”

The tribe urged its supporters “to fight and stand tall beside us,” and to contact their representatives in Congress to “let them know that the people do not stand behind today’s decision.”

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said Trump “is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process.”

The tribe’s statement noted that on Jan. 18 the Corps opened the public comment phase of its environmental impact analysis of the company’s request. Public comment is due by Feb. 17.

The Sioux Nation said last week that it welcomed the Corps’ work but said “it should include at the very least the territory of the entire Great Sioux Nation, and not just Lake Oahe and the northern boundary of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Reservation.”

Trump told reporters during a White House Oval Office signing ceremony that both pipelines will be subject to conditions being negotiated by U.S. officials – including a requirement that the pipe itself be manufactured in America. “I am very insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States,” he said, noting that his requirement will take time to fulfill because most steel piping used in the United States is made elsewhere.

“From now on we are going to start making pipelines in the United States,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “We will build our own pipelines with our own pipes, that’s what it has to do with, like we used to in the old days,” he said, adding that the directive will put “lots of steelworkers” back to work.

Trump did not comment on his directive about the Dakota Access Pipeline. Press Secretary Sean Spicer later told reporters that Trump “has shown through his business life that he knows how to negotiate a great deal where parties come out ahead.” Spicer said Trump is willing to sit down “with all of the individuals who are involved in the Dakota pipeline to make sure that it is a deal that benefits all of the parties of interest or at least gets something that they want.”

Texts of the pipeline-related actions taken by Trump Jan. 24 are here and here.

The 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline is poised to carry up to 570,000 gallons of oil a day from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota – through South Dakota and Iowa – to Illinois where it will be shipped to refineries. The pipeline was to pass within one-half mile of the Standing Rock Reservation and Sioux tribal leaders repeatedly expressed concerns over the potential for an oil spill that would damage the reservation’s water supply, and the threat the pipeline posed to sacred sites and treaty rights. The company developing the pipeline, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says it will be safe.

Thousands of people, including Native Americans and indigenous people representing about 300 tribes from around the world, traveled to North Dakota in summer and fall of 2016 in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.

The tribe recently told the people remaining in the protest camps to leave due to safety and environmental concerns over flooding as the massive snowpack in the area melts. The snowpack typically melts swiftly in the area, causing rapid flooding that could sweep people and material into the river. The tribal council was also concerned about continuing protests at the Backwater Bridge leading to and from the area. The tribe had requested an end to those protests but some people in the camps had ignored that request.

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

Canada: Church vows to address youth suicide crisis in Wapekeka First Nation

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 10:02am

[Anglican Journal] The Anglican Church of Canada has acknowledged that it played a role in creating the conditions that led to the suicides of two young girls in Wapekeka First Nation, a remote Oji-Cree community in Ontario, earlier this month. In a statement on Jan. 20, Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, said the church “helped create a legacy of brokenness in some First Nations communities” through the actions of one of its former priests, Ralph Rowe, who abused many Indigenous boys in communities across Northwestern Ontario throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Full article.

Donald Trump signe un mémorandum pour accélérer le processus pour l’oléoduc de Dakota Access

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 7:00am

[Episcopal News Service] Alors que les réactions aux mesures prises le 24 janvier par le Président Donald Trump pour faire avancer les projets d’oléoducs de Keystone XL et de Dakota Access ne se sont pas fait attendre, l’impact immédiat des mémorandums est encore nébuleux.

Rien dans le mémorandum de Donald Trump sur l’oléoduc de Dakota Access ne semble imposer l’approbation du projet, il s’agit plutôt d’accélérer le processus d’évaluation environnementale en cours de l’Army Corps of Engineers des États-Unis.

Un mémorandum présidentiel est quelque peu différent d’un décret présidentiel et certains observateurs disent que son impact est moindre.

D’autres observateurs se demandent si la décision prise par Donald Trump de signer ces documents fait partie de ce qu’ils voient comme la façon de Trump et de ses collaborateurs de détourner l’attention des médias d’autres événements qui interviennent tandis que l’administration se met en place, notamment les auditions de candidats, des enquêtes d’éthique et des changements apportés aux sites web et à des politiques qui semblent restreindre la participation publique. A également été publiée aujourd’hui une proclamation que Donald Trump a signée peu après son investiture en tant que président le 20 janvier, déclarant ce jour : « journée nationale de dévouement patriotique ».

Dans le mémorandum sur l’oléoduc de Dakota Access, Donald Trump déclare que l’Army Corps of Engineers va « examiner et approuver de façon accélérée, dans la mesure autorisée par la loi et selon qu’il conviendra, et dans les conditions qui seront nécessaires ou appropriées », la demande de l’entreprise visant à achever l’oléoduc. Les travaux restants feraient passer l’oléoduc sous le lac Oahe qui se trouve sur le fleuve Missouri juste au nord de la réserve de la Nation sioux de Standing Rock. Le franchissement du fleuve qui est proposé se trouve en amont des limites de la réserve de la tribu, et la tribu a par traité des droits sur l’eau, sur la pêche et sur la chasse dans le lac.

L’Army Corps of Engineers a décidé le 4 décembre de suspendre les travaux, à la satisfaction des opposants, et de procéder à une évaluation de l’impact sur l’environnement, incluant l’exploration d’autres itinéraires.

À ce moment là, l’Évêque Primat Michael Curry avait demandé que « l’évaluation comporte une large consultation des populations affectées et que désormais tout plan respecte les obligations du traité avec les Sioux de Standing Rock ».

Toutefois, le décret de Donald Trump dit que l’Armée « verra la possibilité, dans la mesure autorisée par le loi et selon qu’il conviendra, d’annuler ou de modifier » sa décision du 4 décembre, de revenir à l’évaluation environnementale faite par l’Army Corps of Engineers en juillet 2016 et d’accorder la servitude pour le franchissement du lac.

Article complet en anglais.

Women’s Marches: ‘Episcopal Church is Here’ and ‘Cares About This’

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 3:17pm

Minnesota Episcopalians made their presence known at one of approximately 600 “Sister Marches” Jan. 21 outside the state capitol in St. Paul. Photo: LeeAnne Watkins

[Episcopal News Service] Carrying signs reading “The Episcopal Church is Here” and “The Episcopal Church Cares About This,” the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins and other Minnesota Episcopalians joined thousands of marchers in St. Paul on Jan. 21, sparking “a miserable day of puddles and ice” into the beginnings of a movement.

A day later, Watkins was already heeding the Women’s March movement’s call to continue post-march local action. With the help of a professional facilitator and theater troupe, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul hosted a Jan. 22 intergenerational forum. It included roleplaying aimed at “elders teaching young people about what it means to respect women,” said Watkins, 50, rector for 18 years.

As elsewhere, the numbers of marchers exploded expectations. In St. Paul, for example, Watkins said that while organizers had planned for about 20,000, police estimated the crowd at about 100,000.

“It was joyful and peaceful and fun,” she said. “There were hugs as people recognized one another. There were workplace groups and a lot of young people, people in wheelchairs.

“I went because it was about marching for women … the rights of women and girls, about reproductive freedom, about immigrants in our state, about dignity for all people. It wasn’t an anti-march. It was a pro-march for all the values I hold that are informed by my faith.”

She added that: “Everywhere we went, people came up to us and said I’m so glad the Episcopal Church is here. Tell me about the Episcopal Church. To be an Episcopal presence there was really important for us.”

The Rev. Sarah Quinney leads church members, including the Rev. Anne Smith (left) and Myles Clarke (right), in a prayer for peace before the start of the Women’s March on Sacramento, California. Photo: Paula Schaap

From New York to Sacramento to Washington, D.C., Episcopalians joined in Spirit-filled marches. Organizers said some 600 “Sister Marches” drew scores of participants across the globe. An estimated more than one million women, men and children, some wearing knitted pink caps with cat ears — the unofficial symbol of the march — took to streets in the nation’s capital and elsewhere, chanting, singing, bearing messages of hope and peace.

Editor’s note: A photo gallery from marches across the United States is here.

Trinity Wall Street in New York sent to the nation’s capital two busloads of “all ages, kids, teenagers, adults … it was amazing, so many more people than anybody expected. It was just tremendous and the spirit was kind and fired-up and really wanting to connect with other people,” said Ruth Frey, Trinity’s senior program officer for social justice and reconciliation.

Frey said joining the march was important both professionally and personally for her. “I talked to enough people to know, it’s been a very bleak season,” she told ENS. “But this was a time of hope and light in that bleak season, and there were people of all sorts there, who care about a variety of different issues. But all feel somehow that the administration that has just come in is not open to protecting or advancing everybody’s rights.”

Personally, she said, the march leads directly to the Baptismal Covenant promise “to work for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. That language has been far from the rhetoric that our new president has been using.”

The massive size of the crowd prevented her from getting anywhere near the stage to hear featured speakers, ranging from noted feminist Gloria Steinem to filmmaker Michael Moore, actresses America Ferrera and Ashley Judd, entertainers Madonna and Alicia Keys and Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth (Illinois), Kamala Harris (California) and U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California’s 43rd Congressional District.

But Frey said that didn’t matter. What mattered was the moment, the movement, the Spirit’s presence, the messages chanted by the crowd, including: “This is what democracy looks like” and “We are the popular vote” and “We need a leader, not a creepy Tweeter.”

The Very Rev. Michael T. Sniffen, dean of the Diocese of Long Island’s Cathedral of the Incarnation, speaking via telephone as he marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, approaching the White House: “There is a passionate sense of being here to demonstrate the democratic values that we pray will endure in this nation.”

Sniffen, whose cathedral group traveled with Trinity Wall Street to Washington, said he met marchers from other faith traditions.

“It is wonderful to meet people who are all working for justice for all people and respect for the dignity of every human being,” he said. “It’s a wonderful day for the church, to see this many people gathered today, reminding us that all the freedoms we enjoy that God has given us are only ours when we fight for them.

“By God’s grace, we will have the passion and courage and energy to try and continue that struggle.”

Female Episcopal Church priests hold a banner during the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21. The Rev. Lura M. Kaval, second from right, designed the logo. Some of the other priests shown include the Rev. K. Jeanne Person, second from left; the Rev. Deborah Dresser, third from left; and the Rev. Alison Quin, far right. Photo: Facebook timeline of K. Jeanne Person

Silver Spring, Maryland, resident Spencer Cantrell, 28, attends St. Thomas Parish Episcopal Church, Dupont Circle, in Washington, D.C., and works with survivors of domestic violence. She called the march “a powerful moment” and said it was important to be there “to make our voices heard.”

“There’s already word coming out that Trump might take away some funding for violence against women or the arts, and he’s already changing health care,” she said.

“I work with survivors of violence and it’s important to let them know they’re supported and to continue to reach out to our representatives and let them know how we feel.” Also important, she said, is to stay connected with the work of the Episcopal Public Policy Network and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations.

Michelle Cox, a member of Trinity Church, New Orleans, said she’s accustomed to Mardi Gras crowds, but felt amazed at the positive energy, the outpouring of support and kindness to strangers of the massive numbers of people who poured into the nation’s capital.

She was also awed by hearing Gloria Steinem and even Madonna, whose salty language prompted apologies from news outlets broadcasting the march.

“It was just pretty fantastic,” said Cox, a stay-at-home mom of two daughters, aged 9 and 12. “I don’t even know the last time I’ve had a day when you don’t encounter some form of negativity. There was none; it was remarkable.”

Cox called Madonna’s language “unfortunate,” but added, “I think of that as her standard shock value. She had to find some way to be shocking and language was what she chose. Still, it was wonderful to have her there.”

Lianne Thompson, senior warden of St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Nehalem, Oregon, holds the Episcopal Church flag as she prepares to march in Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Ann Fontaine via Facebook

One speaker in particular, Sophie Cruz, a young immigrant rights activist, brought her to tears. “She talked about coming together and the openness of the world and love, and it was just an absolute message of love. Truly, from the mouths of babes.”

Cox said she joined the march because “I don’t recall an election where I had felt such a disconnect with what I thought was going to happen and what did happen and it really affected me, and my good friends.

“We felt that women in particular were disenfranchised with the way the election occurred. Women were being disparaged greatly and it was surprising to me that my country elected someone I found so out of step with the way I think we should respect all people. I was looking for a way to deal with that.”

She looks forward to following organizers’ “Ten Things to Do in the First Hundred Days” after the march, like sending out press cards to congressional leaders.

But she added that: “It’s time to have conversations with people and not to be afraid to talk about politics in your everyday life. We need to make sure that we listen to a lot of people and talk to a lot of people and that’s going to be where we get started.”

Her group wore purple hats, she said, because purple is a blend of red and blue. “You can’t go forward if you are only red or blue. We have to come together and that was the true spirit of the day.”

Sarah Steffner, 44, lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee but flew to Washington, D.C., with some friends and met up with others at the march, mostly fellow alums from Sewanee, the University of the South.

She joined marchers because of “our president’s very clear attitude of disrespect, and the words he uses, rating women. She hopes it will be an eventual life lesson for her children, aged 8 and 11, about how to treat other people who are different than you or whose needs differ from yours. “It was important to me to show my children that there’s a line … and that these are not OK things for anyone to say, even if he is elected president of the United States.”

The march also was a place of connection, Steffner said. She recalled contacting her senator’s office to advocate for gun control “and the woman who answered the phone actually laughed at me.

“I felt personally so discouraged that my representatives at a state and federal level just don’t care,” she said. “But, what this (the march) showed me is that, I can’t let that feeling win.

“I have to keep voicing my beliefs and stay active and keep going to protests and showing up for things and saying I know I live in a state where 70 percent of the people don’t agree with me, but that does not make me invalid.”

Victoria Lynn Garvey, a lay leader in the Diocese of Chicago area and former member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, gets ready for the rally in downtown Chicago. Photo: Shawn Shreiner via Facebook

In Chicago, St. Paul and the Redeemer parishioner Antoinette Daniels said the expected march attendance of 50,000 swelled to 250,000 and instead of marching, participants rallied in place.

“I was marching for civility, respect and courtesy among humanity,” Daniels blogged. “I think we’ve ventured away from those values since last November.”

In Sacramento, California, marchers chanted: “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America great” and the Rev. Betsey Monnot, co-rector of All Saints Episcopal Church said the march was about “the power of community.”

“There are people here exercising their First Amendment rights to say they’re not happy with the direction things appear to be going, and I want the Episcopal Church to be part of that.”

Some marchers’ signs declared: “Love Trumps Hate,” and “Make America Kind Again.” The Rev. Anne Clarke held up a hand-lettered sign: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8.”

Steffner, from Chattanooga, said attending the march has moved her, as organizers suggested, to translate her excitement to local opportunities. She plans to join the American Civil Liberties Union and to advocate for gun laws.

“One of the big things I’ve learned from this is what a rapid response is,” she said. “When you learn about a bill you don’t have six months to call and make a statement. I want to join those rapid responders and show up when I can and make my voice heard even when I feel like no one is listening.”

–The Rev. Pat McCaughan is a correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. Paula Schapp, communications officer for the Diocese of Northern California, contributed to this report.



Photos: Episcopalians join Women’s Marches across the United States

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 2:58pm

The Rev. Susan Copley, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Tarrytown, New York, right, prepares to head south into New York City for the Jan. 21 Women’s March. Photo: David Copley via Facebook

Members of Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey, prepare to board a bus to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington. Because of parking limitations in the District of Columbia, Redeemer sought out alternative parking options and St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in New Carrollton, Maryland, welcomed them. The New Jersey Episcopalians rode the Metro from the New Carrollton stop in Washington, D.C. Photo: Cynthia Black

Krista Donough, Cindy Donough and Erik Donough (l-r) pause for a photo at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in New Carrollton, Maryland. Krista and Cindy are sisters, and Erik is married to Cindy. “The people of St. Christopher’s provided fabulous hospitality,” said the Rev. Cynthia Black, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey. “They welcomed us in the morning and had healthy snack bags for each of us to carry as we marched, as well as coffee and continental breakfast. Then they welcomed us ‘home’ again when it was over with more food. Initially, we were just hoping for somewhere to park the bus – but we were reminded once again what a true family the Episcopal Church is.” Photo: Cynthia Black

Diocese of New Jersey Bishop William “Chip” Stokes meets up with the Rev. Peter James Bridge and his wife Jane outside the Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial building in Trenton, New Jersey. After listening to speakers, the marchers walked the half mile to the New Jersey State House, where they pledged their commitment to action. Photo: Williams Stokes via Facebook

The Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Rev. Ellen Clark-King, cathedral executive pastor, welcome more than two hundred Episcopalians and other San Franciscans to the cathedral before they march to the city’s Civic Center. Clark-King read a prayer drafted for the march and California Bishop Marc Handley Andrus blessed the marchers. Photo: Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral and Diocese of California participants display their “Grace for All” signs during the Women’s March on Washington.

A poster carried by Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey, member Colleen Hintz stands out above the Washington, D.C. crowd. Photo: Cynthia Black

“For me it was about my granddaughter and all of the little girls that I want a better life for,” said Colleen Hintz, Church of the Redeemer member. “I went as a mother, a grandmother, a public health nurse and a woman of faith to say loud and clear that I respect the dignity of every human being.” From left, Rebecca Walker, Debbie Quinn, Colleen Hintz, all from Church of the Redeemer, Morristown; and Laura Russell, All Saints, Hoboken, New Jersey, march in Washington. Photo: Cynthia Black

In the midst of the crowds in Washington, D.C., Episcopalians were glad to meet each other. They included, left to right, Devon McGuinness (red hat), Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey; Itxel Pena and Carmen Saenz, Holy Nativity, Chicago; and Theodore Hoelter (blue hat), Church of the Redeemer. Photo: Cynthia Black

Rebecca Walker, left, and the Rev. Cynthia Black from Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey, get ready to march. Redeemer chartered a bus that left Morristown at 4 a.m. Jann. 21 The bus parked at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in New Carrollton, Maryland, where they were welcomed and fed before continuing on the Metro to the march. Photo: Colleen Hintz

The Rev. Callie Swanlund, associate rector of Christ Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, gets ready to march in Raleigh. Photo: Callie Swanlund via Facebook

Diocese of New York Bishop Andrew Dietsche joins other Episcopalians outside of the New York Church of the Incarnation holding signs made for the Women’s March. Photo: K. Jeanne Person Facebook timeline

Diocese of New York Assistant Bishop Mary Glasspool and the Rev. Matt Hyde, rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest in Manhattan, pause during the New York Women’s March. Photo: Church of the Heavenly Rest via Facebook