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El Consejo Ejecutivo pide a obispos y cónyuges que ‘sopesen devota y cuidadosamente’ su respuesta a la decisión de Lambeth

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 6:50am

Muchas de las principales liturgias durante la Conferencia de Lambeth tienen lugar en la catedral de Cantórbery, sede del arzobispo de Cantórbery y a la que se considera la “Iglesia madre” de la Comunión Anglicana. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] El Consejo Ejecutivo le ha pedido a los obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal y a sus cónyuges, y a la Cámara de Obispos colectivamente,  “sopesar devota y cuidadosamente su respuesta, opciones y acciones’ a la luz de lo que llama las “circunstancias preocupantes” de la decisión de excluir a cónyuges  del mismo sexo de los obispos [invitados] a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020 .

El Consejo aprobó por unanimidad una resolución el 25 de febrero que dice encontrar la decisión “incompatible” con las posiciones de la Iglesia Episcopal y con múltiples declaraciones de entidades de la Comunión Anglicana que han instado a la Iglesia a escuchar las experiencias de personas LGBTQ.

“La exclusión de cónyuges en la Conferencia de Lambeth: ¿Cuándo todos significa todos?” juzga la decisión “particularmente desacertada e incompatible con los fines explícitos de la Conferencia” en parte porque el grupo de planificación de la Conferencia decidió tener un programa conjunto para los obispos y sus cónyuges, en lugar de los programas paralelos tradicionales. La sección de Preguntas Frecuentes [FAQs] del sitio web Lambeth2020  dice que la conferencia conjunta se debe“al reconocimiento del papel vital que desempeñan los cónyuges a través de la Comunión Anglicana y a un deseo de apoyarlos en su ministerio”.

La resolución se produjo en respuesta  a una noticia publicada en el blog del Servicio Informativo de la Comunión Anglicana en la cual el secretario general de la Comunión Anglicana Josiah Idowu-Fearon decía que el arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby había invitado “a todos los obispos activos”. Sin embargo, Idowu-Fearon decía que “sería inapropiado que cónyuges del mismo sexo sean invitados a la conferencia” Él agregaba que la Comunión Anglicana define el matrimonio como “la unión de por vida de un hombre y una mujer” tal como quedó establecido en la Resolución 1.10 de la Conferencia de Lambeth 1998.

Las cámaras estaban fuera el 24 de febrero mientras el obispo primado Michael Curry predicaba durante la eucaristía en la catedral de San Pablo en el centro de Oklahoma City. Foto: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ ENS.

El obispo primado Michael Curry dijo en una declaración después de la votación del Consejo que la resolución “refleja nuestro compromiso a ser ‘una casa de oración para todas las personas’, como dice la Biblia, donde todos sean realmente bienvenidos”.

Curry agregó, “[La resolución] refleja nuestro compromiso a ser una Iglesia incluyente, no basada en una teoría social o en una capitulación a las maneras de la cultura, sino basada en nuestra creencia de que los brazos extendidos de Jesús en la cruz son un signo del verdadero amor de Dios que nos alcanza a todos nosotros. Refleja nuestra creencia en que las palabras del apóstol Pablo a los Gálatas deben ser ciertas para la Iglesia en la actualidad: ‘Todos los que han sido bautizados en Cristo, se han revestido de Cristo. Ya no hay judío o gentil, esclavo o libre, hombre o mujer, porque todos son uno en Cristo’”.

La resolución también:

* Expresa su amor, apoyo, preocupación y oraciones por los cónyuges que no han sido invitados o pueden no ser invitados a la Conferencia de Lambeth, y

* Afirma y lamenta la pesadumbre y el dolor que esta acción les causa a los hombres y mujeres homosexuales, bisexuales y transexuales a través de la Comunión Anglicana.

La resolución incluye un largo resumen de lo que llama más de 40 años en que la Convención General ha mostrado “su apoyo a personas homosexuales, bisexuales y transexuales, sus parejas, cónyuges y familias, tanto en la sociedad secular como en la Iglesia”, a partir de 1976.

Ofrece un resumen de declaraciones y resoluciones que han sido emitidas por entidades de la Comunión Anglicana acerca de la plena inclusión de personas LGBTQ en la vida de la Iglesia. Entre esas está la decisión de 2012 del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano de recomendar a la Comunión el estudio de la declaración “Ritos relativos al matrimonio” de la Consulta Litúrgica Anglicana Internacional.

La Sección 15.5 de esa declaración dice: “Algunos en la Comunión Anglicana disciernen que mucho de lo que se afirma como válido del matrimonio cristiano entre un hombre y una mujer también se encuentra y se expresa en relaciones fieles, comprometidas, monógamas y de por vida entre dos hombres o dos mujeres, llámesele matrimonio u otra cosa. Esto brinda una oportunidad para continuar el diálogo dentro de la Comunión y escuchar las experiencias de hombres y mujeres homosexuales [que son] discípulos de Cristo”.

El Consejo aprobó la extensa resolución en la última jornada de su reunión aquí de cuatro días, luego de que su Comité de Gobierno y Operaciones dedicara horas el día anterior a escribirla y revisarla.

El Rdo. Aaron Perkins le dijo al comité el 23 de febrero que él y su colega del Consejo Dianne Pollard habían discutido las palabras de apertura de la presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings  y habían acordado que “el Consejo no debería irse de aquí sin algún tipo de declaración, sin algún tipo de resolución que abordara el asunto”.

Cuando en el debate del Consejo se suscitó la pregunta de por qué la resolución no le decía a Welby que invitara a cónyuges del mismo sexo, el obispo de Oklahoma Ed Konieczny dijo que él y sus colegas del comité intentaron “estar en un lugar donde dijéramos algo que definitivamente describa nuestras preocupaciones sobre lo que ha sucedido sin pasarnos a un lugar donde estaríamos atacando de alguna manera”.

El comité esperaba que la resolución apoyaría a las personas que puedan ser parte de una conversación continua con funcionarios de la Comunión Anglicana con la esperanza de darle a Welby “la oportunidad de reaccionar o responder por su cuenta, si hay flexibilidad en ese espacio”, señaló él.

“[Si] no le damos ese espacio, si hay alguno, para cambiar de opinión”, el resto de la Comunión percibirá que Welby está “sujeto a las presiones” de la Iglesia Episcopal, dijo Konieczny.

Pollard instó al Consejo a aprobar la resolución porque muestra que el Consejo desaprueba una decisión que es“injusta para los que apreciamos”. Además,  explicó ella,  “darle al Arzobispo [de Cantórbery] un margen de maniobra es una idea estratégica muy buena al tiempo que intentamos evitar decirle que haga algo”.

La resolución “ciertamente no es la resolución más enérgica que a mí me habría gustado, pero creo que es un buen punto intermedio”, dijo Pollard.

La Rda. Mally Lloyd recordó que el Consejo se reúne aún tres veces más antes de que la Conferencia de Lambeth comience el 23 de julio de 2020. “Lo que me gusta de esta resolución es que es muy abierta, y si necesitamos estrecharla y ser más directos, podemos hacerlo”, afirmó.

Entre tanto, la exclusión de cónyuges del mismo sexo hecha por Welby sin duda se discutirá en la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos previamente programada del 12 al 15 de marzo de 2019, en Kanuga en las afueras de Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte.

Durante la reunión del Comité de Gobierno y Operaciones el 23 de febrero, Konieczny recordó que la 17ª. reunión del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, o ACC [por su sigla en inglés] está programada para sesionar en Hong Kong del 28 de abril al 5 de mayo. Él asistirá por primera vez como el obispo miembro de la delegación de tres personas de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“No me complace decirlo, pero contemplo esto a partir del sentido político de cómo participo en esta conversación cuando me reúna en Hong Kong con el ACC”, le dijo él al comité.

En las palabras de Jennings el 21 de febrero, ella le dijo al Consejo que la decisión de Welby de no invitar a cónyuges del mismo sexo a la Conferencia era errónea en muchos niveles.

Jennings dijo que el texto de Idowu-Fearon promulgaba “una concepción errónea del gobierno de la Comunión Anglicana”al afirmar que la posición de la Comunión Anglicana sobre el matrimonio quedaba definida por esa resolución, ya que la Conferencia de Lambeth no tiene ningún poder constitucional para fijar la política de la Comunión. Esa autoridad reside en el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, el cual es visto como la entidad corporativa de la Comunión Anglicana por los documentos rectores de los cuatro Instrumentos de la Comunión y por el derecho británico.

El Comité de Gobierno y Operaciones del Consejo Ejecutivo examina el 23 de febrero el texto de la resolución en respuesta a la decisión del arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby de no invitar a cónyuges del mismo sexo a la Conferencia de Obispos de Lambeth 2020. El Consejo en pleno aprobó la resolución al día siguiente. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

La Conferencia de Lambeth es una reunión periódica de los obispos de toda la Comunión Anglicana, a la cual el arzobispo de Cantórbery convoca y para la cual cursa invitaciones. La última reunión fue en 2008. La reunión tendrá lugar del 23 de julio al 2 de agosto, como es tradición, en Cantórbery, Inglaterra, siendo la mayoría de las sesiones en la Universidad de Kent. El tema para la reunión de 2010 es: Una Iglesia de Dios para un mundo de Dios: andando, escuchando y testificando juntos”.

Konieczny dijo el 23 de febrero que creía en la posibilidad de que Welby cambiara de idea,  si bien “sé que la opinión de Josiah [Idowu-Fearon, el secretario general de la Comunión anglicana] es que se trata de un caso cerrado, que no hay más diálogo”.

Konieczny añadió, “personalmente, no creo que el cemento se haya solidificado completamente en torno a esto todavía”.

“No creo que [Welby] estuviera preparado aún para que esto se hiciera público” afirmó él. “Le tomaron la delantera”

Si bien algunos han sugerido que los obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal y sus cónyuges deberían boicotear Lambeth 2020, Konieczny arguyó que quedarse fuera no “ayudará a nuestra causa”. Los obispos y sus cónyuges deben “estar allí para presenciar lo que sucede y decir que esto es inapropiado”.

La negativa de Welby afecta actualmente a dos obispos y a un obispo electo en la Comunión Anglicana. Mary Glasspool, obispa auxiliar of la Diócesis de Nueva York es el único obispo en activo servicio de la Iglesia Episcopal que tiene un cónyuge del mismo sexo.

El Rdo. Thomas Brown debe ser ordenado y consagrado el 22 de junio como el próximo obispo de la Diócesis de Maine. Él está casado con el Rdo. Thomas Mousin. La diócesis eligió a Brown el 9 de febrero. Su elección está a punto de entrar en el proceso de consentimiento que es requisito canónico en todas las elecciones de obispos. Una mayoría de los comités permanentes diocesanos y de los obispos con jurisdicción deben ratificar cada elección.

El único otro obispo activo en la Comunión Anglicana a quien se aplica la decisión de Welby es a Kevin Robertson, obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Toronto, que se casó  con Mohan Sharma, su pareja de casi 10 años, el 28 de diciembre de 2018. La diócesis lo felicitó por su matrimonio, al cual asistieron el arzobispo de Toronto Colin Johnson y el obispo diocesano de Toronto Andrew Asbil. Robertson declaró recientemente a Episcopal News Service que Welby le dijo en persona este mes que Sharma no sería invitado. Robertson y Sharma son los padres de dos niñas.

La reunión del 21 al 24 de febrero tuvo lugar en el Hotel Sheraton Midwest City en el Centro de Conferencias Reed.

Algunos miembros del Consejo enviaron mensajes por Twitter a través de #ExCoun.

La cobertura de la reunión por Episcopal News Service puede encontrarse aquí.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora sénior y reportera de  Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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‘World Anglican Centre’ could become first official presence in Jesus’ birth town Bethlehem

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 3:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An official Anglican presence could open in Bethlehem – the first in the Palestinian town which is the birthplace of Jesus. The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, met the Mayor of Bethlehem, Anton Salman, last Friday, Feb. 22, to discuss plans for a World Anglican Centre. “Please keep its eventual construction in your prayers,” the Diocese of Jerusalem said on its website, adding: “there are still many obstacles to overcome.”

Read the full article here.

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Nouvelles traductions du LPC en espagnol, français et créole haïtien

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:50am

[Le 26 février, 2019] L’Eglise Episcopale a commencé une nouvelle traduction du Livre de Prière Commune (Book of Common Prayer 1979) en Espagnol, Français et Créole, a déclaré le Révérend Dr. Juan M.C. Oliver, le Custode Liturgique pour le Livre du Prière Commune.

« Depuis un certain temps, l’Eglise s’est rendu compte du besoin de traductions nouvelles, effectuées par des traducteurs littéraires professionnel(le)s, », a clarifié Dr. Oliver. Dr. Oliver est aussi le président du Service (Task Force) pour les Traductions Liturgiques (STL), un service qui fait partie de la Commission de la Liturgie et de la Musique de L’Eglise Episcopale.

La 79​ième​ Convention Générale a mandaté et alloué le budget pour ce projet, qui sera accompli durant ce triennat. En janvier, le STL s’est réuni pour coordonner le recrutement des traducteurs littéraires professionnel(le)s. Ces traducteurs seront chargés de rédiger une version initiale au cours des dix-huit mois prochains. Ces ébauches seront distribuées dans des paroisses appartenant aux différents groupes linguistiques des Etats-Unis et à l’étranger.

Le Service consiste en trois groupes linguistiques qui seront chargés de superviser les traducteurs. Les membres de ces groupes sont pour le Français: Les Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Rev. ​Pierre-Henri Buisson​ et Rev. Luk De Volder; pour le Créole Haitien (Kreyol): les Rev. Nathanael St. Pierre, Rev. Magarettie Saintliver and Rev. André Wildaine; et pour l’Espagnol: les Rev. Susan Saucedo Sica, Rev. Frederick Clarkson et Rev. Juan M.C. Oliver.

Les qualités requises des candidats incluent: être bilingue (avoir comme langue maternelle soit le Français, l’Espagnol, ou le Créole, et une connaissance approfondie de l’Anglais), ​expérience dans la traduction littéraire, y compris la prose poétique. ​Les qualités additionnelles, mais non conditionnelles, sont l’expérience de vocabulaires théologique, liturgique, ou biblique, ainsi qu’une certaine connaissance de musique. La date limite de l’inscription est le 28 février.

Pour plus d’informations ou d’appliquer en tant que traducteur potentiel cliquez ​ici.

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Nuevas traducciones del LOC al español, francés y kreyol haitiano.

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:49am

[26 de febrero de 2019] “La Iglesia Episcopal ha comenzado el proyecto de crear nuevas traducciones del Libro de Oración Común 1979 al español, francés y kreyol haitiano,” ha declarado el Revdo. Dr. Juan M.C. Oliver, Guardián del Libro de Oración Común.

“Por hace ya algún tiempo, la Iglesia ha estado consciente de la necesidad de nuevas traducciones, llevadas a cabo por traductores literarios profesionales,” clarificó el Dr. Oliver, quien también es presidente del Grupo de Trabajo para Traducciones Litúrgicas de la Comisión Permanente de Liturgia y Música de La Iglesia Episcopal.

La 79​a ​ Convención General mando y aprobó el presupuesto para este proyecto, el cual se llevará a cabo este triennio.  En enero el Grupo de Trabajo se reunió para coordinar el reclutamiento y contrato de traductores literarios profesionales, los cuales habrán de elaborar un borrador durante los próximos dieciocho meses, para entonces distribuirlo a congregaciones pertenecientes a los grupos lingüísticos tanto en los Estados Unidos como en el extranjero, pidiendo sus comentarios.

El Grupo de Trabajo consiste de tres grupos lingüísticos, que estarán a cargo de supervisar a los y las traductores.  Los miembros de estos grupos son:  para Francés, el Rvdmo. Pierre Whalon, y los Rvdos. ​Pierre-Henri Buisson​ y Luk De Volder; para el Kreyol Haitiano, los Rvdos. Nathanael St. Pierre, Magarettie Saintliver y André Wildaine; y para el espanol, la Rvda. Susan Saucedo Sica, el Rvdo. Frederick Clarkson y el Rev. Juan M.C. Oliver.

El proyecto está siendo ampliamente publicado para alentar a personas cualificadas a solicitar. Las cualidades requeridas son: tener como lengua materna el español, francés o kreyol y ser bilingüe en inglés, con experiencia en traducción ​literaria, especialmente prosa poética.  Las cualidades adicionales, pero no requeridas son: experiencia con el vocabulario teológico, litúrgico, y biblico, al igual que algun conocimiento de la musica.

Para más información, o para solicitar como traductores, oprima ​aqui.

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Archbishop decries desecration as vandals steal mummified head from Dublin church’s crypt

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 4:09pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Thieves have stolen the head from an 800-year-old mummified body, known as “The Crusader” from the crypt of a church in the Irish capital Dublin. The vandals responsible also damaged other human remains in the attack on St. Michan’s Church in Church Street, Dublin. The church is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors who come to see the mummified remains in the crypt. The vandalism was discovered shortly before lunchtime Feb. 25 as volunteers were preparing to open the crypt for visitors.

Read the full article here.

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Episcopal Church joins calls for fix to US law that extended deep cuts in Palestinian aid

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 3:09pm

Palestinian security forces guard outside a hospital in Ramallah, West Bank, in May 2018. Photo: Reuters

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church – raising concerns reportedly shared by officials within the Trump administration and Israeli government – is joining a chorus of voices calling for an emergency update to a new U.S. law that has halted aid to Palestinian security forces.

Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the law, the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, in October as a way to help victims of terrorism, but when the law took effect Feb. 1, the Palestinian Authority was forced to refuse $60 million in U.S. aid or else open itself up to exponentially larger financial liability through potential American lawsuits.

The U.S. State Department is now working on a fix to the law that will “maintain security cooperation on one hand and also justice to the families of the victims of terror,” an unnamed Israeli official told the Washington Post. The Israel-based news outlet Haaretz described the Trump administration in December as “scrambling” to find a solution.

“The Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act has resulted in the total cessation of aid to Palestinians, with devastating consequences for the Palestinians most in need of humanitarian assistance. This legislation also harms the security of Israel,” Rebecca Blachly, director of The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, said in an emailed statement to Episcopal News Service. Her office “has been working hard in partnerships and behind the scenes with Congress, [the Department of] State, and USAID to address this critical issue.”

The office’s Episcopal Public Policy Network also issued an alert recently, asking members to contact their elected officials. “We must urge Congress to find a solution so that the Palestinian people can continue to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance,” the alert said.

The alarm over the sudden loss of this relatively narrow stream of security aid comes amid the larger debate over the Trump administration’s more deliberate efforts to end the broader flow of U.S. humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts over the past year have hampered a variety of efforts: U.N. relief to Palestinian refugees; programs to improve infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza; programs to foster greater understanding between Israelis and Palestinians; and operations of a network of hospitals in East Jerusalem, including one operated by the Anglican diocese in Jerusalem.

Critics of the U.S. aid cuts question the strategy the Trump administration reportedly is employing to weaken the Palestinian position in future peace talks with Israel by seeking to “disrupt” the United Nations agency that provides relief to Palestinian refugees.

“Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there,” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president, said in a Jan. 11, 2018, email obtained by Foreign Policy.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, was established in 1949 to help Palestinians displaced from their homes by the Arab-Israeli War. For decades, Palestinians have argued for granting the refugees, now estimated at more than 5 million, a “right of return” to their homes in the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has rejected that position.

On Jan. 16, 2018, the Trump administration announced it was withholding $65 million out of the $125 million it had planned to contribute to UNRWA for the year. The U.S. has long been the largest donor to the agency, which provides health, education, financial and family services to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied territories.

Two days later, on Jan. 18, the administration announced an additional cut of $45 million in food aid that had been promised to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The impact of such cuts was on the agenda of Episcopal Church’s General Convention when bishops and deputies met in July 2018 in Austin, Texas. They approved a resolution that called on the U.S. to “maintain its historic commitment to alleviating the poverty of Palestinians” by restoring aid spending.

In August, instead of restoring the aid, the State Department revealed it would end $200 million in direct aid to Palestinians and withdraw all U.S. funding of UNRWA, calling the agency a “irredeemably flawed operation.”

“We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business,” the State Department said on Aug. 31.

A woman and her son receive care in 2013 at the Princess Basma Center in East Jerusalem. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Then in September, the Trump administration announced it also would withdraw $25 million from the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which includes the Princess Basma Center, operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry protested those funding cuts in a joint statement Nov. 1 with leaders of other Christian churches tied to the hospital network.

“Each has benefited from U.S. assistance for decades and, therefore, this decision to discontinue that funding leaves the patients, the wider Palestinian community, and us disappointed and perplexed,” the joint statement said. “It is difficult for us to understand why this humanitarian assistance is being brought to a halt, given that lives are being threatened unnecessarily.”

At the same time, the Diocese of Jerusalem’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza has been struggling under the financial strain of lost U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Though the hospital received no direct funding from the U.S., it is supported by UNRWA. The U.S. cuts resulted in a 78 percent drop in UNRWA support for the Ahli hospital, said Heidi Shott, a spokeswoman for the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, or AFEDJ.

AFEDJ Executive Director John Lent, who is visiting the Diocese of Jerusalem this month, “hopes to learn more about current conditions and the impacts of the cuts in aid,” Shott said.

The Trump administration’s efforts to salvage at least one form of Palestinian aid, the $60 million for security, stems from a program the U.S. launched in 2007, with Israel’s encouragement and cooperation, to train members of the Palestinian National Security Force to fight crime and terrorism in the West Bank. The U.S. continued to support the program financially until its future was thrown into question this year by the new U.S. law, which also could affect nongovernmental relief organizations operating in the region.

“Congress must act to resolve this immediately so that we can continue to support the programs in need of U.S. funds,” said Blachly, the Office of Government Relations director. “As Episcopalians, we have an additional responsibility to support the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the ministries they carry out that have been negatively impacted by this unprecedented cut in funds.”

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

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El Consejo Ejecutivo instó a reflexionar sobre el futuro de las comunidades de fe y la Comunión Anglicana

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 11:40am

El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal inicia su reunión del 21 al 24 de febrero en el Hotel Sheraton Midwest City con una Oración Matutina. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] El obispo primado Michael Curry y la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, pusieron el futuro de la fe y de la Iglesia como institución, y la forma de la relación de la Iglesia Episcopal con la Comunión Anglicana, ante el Consejo Ejecutivo al tiempo que éste iniciaba aquí su reunión de cuatro días.

Curry enmarcó sus palabras de apertura en torno a su experiencia de la semana anterior cuando visitó la Iglesia Anglicana de África del Sur. Estando allí, un joven anglicano le preguntó si había futuro para la Iglesia.

“Me di cuenta que él preguntaba si había futuro para la fe”, dijo Curry. “En consecuencia, ¿tiene futuro la Iglesia, la comunidad de personas que tiene fe en Jesús? Esa puede ser una de las preguntas  más fundamentales que nos planteen en nuestro tiempo”.

La pregunta se aplica a todas las comunidades de fe, no sólo a las episcopales, ni siquiera tan sólo a las cristianas, precisó él.

Jennings dedicó la mayor parte de sus reflexiones de apertura a la decisión del arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby de no invitar a cónyuges [de obispos] del mismo sexo a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020 . Ella preguntó si “habrá tiempo aún de resolver esta situación y garantizar que los cónyuges de todos los obispos sean invitados a la Conferencia de Lambeth”.

Jennings dijo, si la Comunión “no es todavía capaz de celebrar una reunión global de obispos anglicanos y sus cónyuges a la cual todos estén invitados, creo que no deberíamos celebrar reuniones globales de obispos y cónyuges”.

El obispo primado Michael Curry le plantea una interrogante a los miembros del Consejo: ¿Hay futuro para la fe? Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

¿Tienen futuro las comunidades de fe?

Al responder a la pregunta sobre el futuro de la Iglesia, Curry le dijo al joven , “la fe no tiene futuro si fe y religión se ven y se entienden fundamental y esencialmente como un arreglo institucional.

“La fe no tendrá futuro si creemos que la Iglesia es fundamentalmente una institución que debemos apuntalar para que siga existiendo”, afirmó Curry. “Digo esto como un hombre de 65 años que, cuando termine mi período como obispo primado, me iré al Fondo de Pensiones de la Iglesia. No soy anti-institucional”.

El tipo de preguntas que él joven me hizo, añadió Curry, no son llamados a la Iglesia a poner en marcha otro plan estratégico, sino a atreverse “a preguntarle al Espíritu: ‘¿adónde iremos?’”.

Curry le recordó al Consejo que la Iglesia cristiana “sólo ha sido una institución periódicamente; comenzó como un incipiente Movimiento de Jesús”. En siglos posteriores, dijo Curry, se convirtió en institución y coronó emperadores, sólo para verse dividida por cismas y reformas teológicas. La iglesia ha pasado de las iglesias establecidas de la mayoría a “una frágil minoría”.

El camino del amor que Jesús ejemplificó no es sólo el camino del amor para el mundo, siguió diciendo Curry. Puede ser el camino de la vida para la Iglesia si ella puede dar testimonio de ese camino del amor. “Cuando somos menos que eso, entonces debemos morir, porque no tenemos nada que darle al mundo”, afirmó.

El Obispo Primado insistió en que el Espíritu Santo estaba inspirando a los miembros del Consejo “a pensar, a orar, a escuchar lo que el Espíritu dice a nuestra Iglesia y encontrar nuestra vida”.

Curry dijo: “Puede que no tengamos por delante tiempos fáciles, pero eso está bien. Nuestro Señor fue crucificado; Pilato pensó que lo había matado, pensó que él había quedado fuera de combate, pero el domingo por la mañana, el hermano se levantó y es a él a quien seguimos. Si seguimos su manera de amar, entonces las puertas del infierno no prevalecerán contra nosotros”.

El Consejo le dio a Curry una ovación de pie cuando él concluyó. 

La Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y vicepresidente del Consejo Ejecutivo, le dijo al Consejo que ella espera que haya tiempo de que todos los cónyuges de los obispos sean invitados a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Abordando el problema de Lambeth

El secretario general de la Comunión Anglicana Josiah Idowu-Fearon escribió el 15 de febrero en un blog del Servicio de Noticias de la Comunión Anglicana que Welby había invitado “a todos los obispos activos” porque “es como debe ser: reconocemos que todas las personas consagradas en el oficio de obispo deben poder asistir.

“Pero el proceso de invitación también ha debido tomar en cuenta la posición de la Comunión Anglicana sobre el matrimonio, que es la unión de por vida de un hombre y una mujer”, escribió Idowu-Fearon. “Esta es la posición establecida en la Resolución I.10 de la Conferencia de Lambeth 1998. En virtud de esto, sería inapropiado que cónyuges del mismo sexo sean invitados a la conferencia”.

La Resolución 1.10 fue aprobada por la Conferencia en 1998 luego de un acalorado debate.

Jennings dijo que el texto de Idowu-Fearon promulgaba “una concepción errónea sobre el gobierno de la Comunión Anglicana al afirmar que esa resolución definía la posición de la Comunión Anglicana sobre el matrimonio.

Ella explicó que de los cuatro Instrumentos de la Comunión —el Arzobispo de Cantórbery, la Conferencia de Lambeth, la Reunión de los Primados y el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, o ACC [por su sigla en inglés]— solo el ACC es visto como la entidad jurídica de la Comunión Anglicana por los documentos rectores de los instrumentos y por el derecho británico. Por consiguiente,  dijo Jennings, fijar una norma es competencia del ACC.

Ella también hizo notar que la referencia de la resolución al matrimonio como una “unión de por vida” no parece tener en cuenta a los cónyuges de obispos, del sexo opuesto, que se han divorciado y se han vuelto a casar y que sin embargo son invitados a Lambeth. “No nos queda más que llegar a la conclusión de que la exclusión de cónyuges del mismo sexo es una decisión selectiva —y e incluso hasta arbitraria”, recalcó.

Jennings sugirió que, si la Comunión no puede resolver invitar a todos los cónyuges de los obispos, “creo que se acerca el día en que debamos examinar cuidadosamente dónde y cómo invertimos los recursos de la Iglesia Episcopal a través de la Comunión Anglicana”.

La presidente de la Cámara de Diputados no abundó en esto, y advirtió que su posición “no es en modo alguno lo mismo que decir que no deberíamos relacionarnos con el resto de la Comunión Anglicana”.

El presupuesto de la Iglesia Episcopal 2019-2021 dedica $1,15 millones a la obra de la oficina de la Comunión Anglicana (renglón 416 aquí) más $538.000 adicionales en subvenciones globales para otras provincias de la Comunión. El presupuesto incluye también casi $2,3 millones en costos de personal en las partidas correspondientes a la Comunión Anglicana, pero ese dinero cubre a miembros del personal de la Iglesia Episcopal que trabajan con compañeros y programas a través de la Comunión.

Haciéndose eco de la distinción hecha por Curry entre las estructuras institucionales de una iglesia y la encarnación local de su misión, Jennings dijo que sus viajes a través de la Comunión le han probado que la Comunión “no consiste en una serie de dictados de los arzobispos o de una oficina en Londres, sino en relaciones mutuas, vivificadoras y salvíficas arraigadas en diócesis, congregaciones, y redes a través del mundo.

“Esa es la Comunión Anglicana que merece nuestra energía y nuestra atención, nuestro compromiso y nuestros recursos”, afirmó ella.

El impacto de la decisión de Welby

La negativa de Welby afecta actualmente a dos obispos y a un obispo electo en la Comunión Anglicana. Mary Glasspool, obispa auxiliar of la Diócesis de Nueva York es la única obispo en activo servicio de la Iglesia Episcopal que tiene un cónyuge del mismo sexo.

El Rdo. Thomas Brown debe ser ordenado y consagrado el 22 de junio como el próximo obispo de la Diócesis de Maine. Él está casado con el Rdo. Thomas Mousin. La diócesis eligió a Brown el 9 de febrero. Su elección está a punto de entrar en el proceso de consentimiento que es requisito canónico en todas las elecciones de obispos.

El único otro obispo activo en la Comunión Anglicana a quien se aplica la decisión de Welby es a Kevin Robertson, obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Toronto, que se casó  con Mohan Sharma, su pareja de casi 10 años, el 28 de diciembre de 2018. La diócesis lo felicitó por su matrimonio, al cual asistieron el arzobispo de Toronto Colin Johnson y el obispo diocesano de Toronto Andrew Asbil. Robertson le dijo recientemente a Episcopal News Service que Welby le dijo en persona este mes que Sharma no sería invitado. Robertson y Sharma son los padres de dos niñas.

“Yo no puedo pasar por alto que la Oficina de la Comunión Anglicana ha creado una situación pública en que dos niñas se enteran de que la jerarquía de la Iglesia considera que su familia es motivo de vergüenza y digna de exclusión”, dijo Jennings. “Eso me pone muy furiosa. Que los niños pequeños se conviertan en daños colaterales, ese no es el camino del amor”.

Después que Jennings concluyó, recibió una ovación de pie del Consejo y Curry le dijo: “Gracias, señora Presidente, Amén”.

También en el primer día de la reunión

* El Consejo Ejecutivo también oyó un informe del tesorero Kurt Barnes que mostró que la Iglesia terminó el trienio 2016-2018 con de $5 millones a $6 millones más de ingresos de lo que tuvo en gastos, debido en gran parte a que el inicio de algunos programas se retrasó en el trienio actual. La cartera de inversiones de la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera (DFMS por su sigla en inglés) se redujo en más de un seis por ciento en 2018, informó Barnes, quien hizo notar que el año fue difícil en todas las inversiones. Afirmando que la DFMS (la entidad corporativa y legal de la Iglesia) “siempre mirará al largo plazo”, Barnes explicó que el promedio anual a 10 años de una cartera de inversiones de aproximadamente $40 millones es de un 9,7 por ciento luego de honorarios y gastos.

La cartera recuperó un 6 por ciento en enero. “Esperamos y oramos que continúe así por el resto de este año”, dijo Barnes, resaltando que el crecimiento de este año afecta la cantidad de dinero disponible para la Iglesia durante los próximos dos años, debido a la manera en que se calcula la extracción presupuestaria en base a los ingresos de inversiones. Diane Pollard, miembro del Consejo, advirtió que algunos inversionistas temen que el rendimiento de los mercado de inversiones en enero sea  “una especie de Disneylandia” y que no se sostenga.

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Barnes le informó también al Consejo de la venta de una manzana urbana en Austin, Texas, la cual se había esperado fuera el sitio de los nuevos Archivos de la Iglesia Episcopal, había dejado netos “en el orden de los $20 millones” después de liquidar la deuda del terreno.  La Iglesia está obligada por un acuerdo de confidencialidad con los compradores, típico en transacciones de este tipo y magnitud, a no revelar el precio de la compra.

Scott Hayashi, obispo de la Diócesis de Utah y miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo, brinda el acompañamiento musical para el cántico de“Quiero caminar como un hijo de la luz”, durante la Oración Matutina. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

El resto de la reunión

Después de la plenaria de apertura el 21 de febrero, el Consejo pasó el resto del día en reuniones de sus cuatro comités. Lo mismo ocurrirá en la mañana del 22 de febrero. Más tarde ese día, los miembros del Consejo visitarán el Centro Conmemorativo Nacional y Museo de Oklahoma City . El museo conmemora la voladura del Edificio Federal Alfred P. Murrah, que llevara a cabo Timothy McVeigh el 19 de abril de 1995, un acto de terrorismo que mató a 168 personas y lesionó a otras 600.

Las reuniones de comités ocuparán la mañana del 23 de febrero, y los miembros volverán a la sesión plenaria esa tarde durante la cual los comités comenzarán a hacer sus informes y a presentar resoluciones a la consideración del organismo en pleno. Los miembros se trasladarán a la catedral episcopal de San Pablo [St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral] en Oklahoma City para participar en la eucaristía en la mañana del 24 de febrero. El Consejo concluirá su reunión esa tarde.

El Consejo Ejecutivo lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General, según el Canon I.4 (1). El Consejo está compuesto de 38 miembros, 20 de los cuales (cuatro obispos, cuatro presbíteros o diáconos y 12 laicos) son elegidos por la Convención General, y 18 por los nueve sínodos provinciales (un clérigo y un laico cada uno) por períodos de seis años, además del Obispo Primado y el Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados [que son miembros ex oficio]. Además, el vicepresidente de la Cámara de Diputados, el Secretario, el Director de Operaciones, el Tesorero y Director de Finanzas tienen asiento y voz, pero no voto.

Algunos miembros del Consejo están enviando mensajes por Twitter a través de #ExCoun.

La reunión del 21 al 24 de febrero está teniendo lugar en el Hotel Sheraton Midwest City  en el Centro de Conferencias Reed.

— La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es jefa de redacción interina de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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Kathryn Ryan elected bishop suffragan for Texas’ western region

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 10:41am

[Diocese of Texas] The Rev. Canon Kathryn ‘Kai’ Ryan was elected Feb. 22 as bishop suffragan for the western region of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

Ryan, 54, currently serves as Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Texas. She was elected to become the next bishop suffragan as lay and clergy delegates gathered at the 170th Diocesan Council at The Woodlands Waterway Marriot. Ryan received 283 of 441 votes cast in the lay order and 137 of 235 cast in the clergy order on the first ballot.

The other candidates were:

The Rev. Hannah E. Atkins Romero, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas.
The Rev. Canon Glenice Robinson-Como, Canon Missioner for Outreach and Justice Ministries, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas.

By canon, a bishop suffragan will serve “under the direction” of Diocesan Bishop Andy Doyle and will have oversight of congregations in the western region of the diocese, with an office in Austin.

“I am so grateful to the search committee and the transition committee and all who have worked on this process over the past year. This has been a really long year and the fact that we got through it has been a result of walking together,” said Ryan. “I especially want to thank Hannah, Glenice and their families. I trust that God and you will teach me how to be the bishop that God and you need.”

Ryan’s breadth of experience includes working in four dioceses as well as involvement in Provincial Synod and General Convention. She also participated in the national Gathering of Leaders for young clergy and served nearly 15 years in a culturally diverse parish as rector.

Ryan will be seated and consecrated as bishop suffragan on June 1 in Austin, Texas.

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Executive Council takes action on series of revenue questions

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 5:01pm

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] During its Feb. 21-24 meeting here, The Episcopal Church Executive Council made a number of decisions about the church’s finances.

The main actions centered on revenue, including its on-going response to dioceses that say they cannot pay the full 15 percent of their income — or the assessment — that the church’s canons require they contribute to church-wide operations. Council also considered how to handle the money it earned from the sale of a city block in Austin, Texas.

Granting four assessment waivers while denying a fifth

At the 2015 meeting of General Convention, bishops and deputies turned the-then voluntary diocesan budgetary asking system into a mandatory assessment, beginning with the 2019-2021 budget cycle. Dioceses may ask for full or partial waivers. Without getting a waiver, a diocese that does not pay the full assessment will be unable to receive grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the church’s legal and corporate entity).

The Rev. Mally Lloyd, chair of the council’s finance committee reported to the council on Feb. 23 that by lowering the percentage that dioceses were asked to pay, and adding the waiver process while requiring payment, the number of dioceses fully participating has gone from 44 in 2013 to 75 dioceses in 2019.

“We have made incredible progress,” she said.

Council members agreed to give the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast a waiver because it had submitted a plan to increase its payments over the course of the triennium. It will pay 12 percent in 2019; 14 percent in 2020 and 15 percent in 2021. The council also granted one-year assessment waivers to the Diocese of Colombia, which will pay $1,500 this year; the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, which will pay $15,000; and, the Episcopal Church in Taiwan, which will pay $3,000.

The council denied the Diocese of Dallas’ waiver request. Lloyd said the Dallas diocese has pledged to be at the 15 percent mark by 2022, but noted that “their 15 percent is split between about 12 percent that comes to us and 3 percent that goes to other ministries of the church of their choosing.

“The committee felt that the assessment is not a split-able entity,”she said.

The council’s Assessment Review Committee has waiver requests pending from Colorado, the Convocation of Churches in Europe, Honduras, Pennsylvania, Rio Grande and Venezuela, according to Lloyd.

Albany and Florida have committed to paying less than 15 percent and have not asked for waivers, she said. Fond du Lac has also committed to less than the required amount but will be requesting a waiver. Thirteen dioceses have not yet submitted their commitments.

At its October 2018 meeting, council members granted waivers to Arizona, Haiti, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and West Texas.

The waivers decision came on the same day that council agreed to forgive a loan and interest of $233,614.38 extended to the Episcopal Church in Navajoland. The Episcopalians there will pay $100 as payment in full through a deduction from its next monthly block grant payment. They also pledged to pay Navajoland’s full assessment beginning this year.

Investing the proceeds of the Archives land sale and dealing with a budgetary surplus

Lloyd also led the council through a step-by-step recommendation about what to do with two sources of revenue. One is how to allocate the $5.7 million in revenue from the 2016-2018 triennium that remained after expenses were covered. The other is how to allocate $19 million netted from the sale of a city block in Austin after paying off the debt on the land.

Council had previously agreed to move $1.1 million of the $5.7 million extra from the previous budget into the current one because that amount had been budgeted for racial reconciliation work. The money, however, was not expended because of the program’s long start-up process

The members agreed with the finance committee’s recommendation that they allocate 20 percent, or $920,000, to the church’s short-term reserves and to keep the balance of $3.680 million in the treasury’s cash operating account to fund various non-budgetary actions approved by council.

They also agreed to allocate $2.880 million of the proceeds from the sale of the Austin land to the short-term reserves, bringing that account up to the $9.5 million that the committee has said would be needed to fund three months of church-wide operations. The account has not been fully funded in a number of years, Lloyd said.

The council set up a trust fund for the $16.340 million remaining from the Austin land sale. The church had hoped to use the city block as the site of a new Archives of The Episcopal Church, but later decided that the value of the property had increased so much that it made sense to sell the land and take more time to decide on the parameters of a new Archives building, according to a press release.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said the money was “being put aside for the time being” and will not “be frittered away.” He said he hopes the council members will have a report on next options for the Archives by as early as their June 10-13 meeting.

Lloyd said that the finance committee knows that it, Executive Council and General Convention must be disciplined about the existence of that money. She said there is always the temptation to go after parts of the $420 million the DFMS has invested. The committee members discussed at length the concerns about the “slippery slope of the little nibbles here and the little nibbles there, and we as the finance committee are not going to be party to that,” she said.

The council approved the committee’s proposal via resolutions FIN021 and FIN029 on two voice votes with scattered opposition.

Among other action at the meeting

* Council revised the 2019 budget for The Episcopal Church to increase the non-government refugee ministry budget; add $125,000 for Spanish translation of the Title IV training website; and, add $449,000 for ongoing software development, licensing, hosting, maintenance fees and technical requirements of General Convention.

* Expressed “deepest concern regarding the humanitarian and political crisis affecting Venezuela and sends greetings to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Venezuela,” which is part of The Episcopal Church. The country, which has been wracked by political upheaval for years, saw a huge outbreak of violence during the days of the council’s meeting. The resolution sought to assure Venezuelans “that they are not alone, that we remember them and are praying daily for their safety and well-being, and that we reach out to them in love and affection, even as we seek ways to bring peace and security to them, their families, and their churches.”

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1). The council comprises 38 members – 20 (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. In addition, the vice president of the House of Deputies, secretary, chief operating officer, treasurer and chief financial officer have seat and voice but no vote.

Some council members are tweeting from the meeting using #ExCoun.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting is taking place at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel at the Reed Conference Center.

Episcopal News Service’s previous coverage of the meeting is here. A summary of all resolutions passed at the meeting is here.

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

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A summary of Executive Council resolutions

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 4:58pm

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] During its Feb. 21-24 meeting here The Episcopal Church Executive Council adopted multiple resolutions that are summarized below.

Committee on Finance

* Establish Trust Fund 1194 as an investment account for St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church of Juneau, Alaska (FIN015).

* Extend its thanks to those who have included The Episcopal Church in their wills (FIN016).

* Recognize the “diligent and effective work” of its Investment Committee, thank for their service Michael Kerr, David Lorenzo Alvarez-Roldan, Bishop Clifton Daniel, Bishop Rodney Michel, Dena Frith Moore, B. Waring Partridge IV, Maibeth J. Porter and Ronald W. Radcliff, Jr. (FIN017).

* Thank retiring members of the Economic Justice Loan Committee Diane Aid, Kim Jackson, Bishop Rodney Michel (FIN018).

* Thank retiring members of the Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility the Rev. Canon Kathleen Cullinane, the Rev. N. Chase Danford, the Rev. John Floberg, William McKeown and William Smith (FIN019).

* Give thanks for the life of the late Rev. Alden Besse, who included The Episcopal Church in his will; and recognize his generosity in supporting the ministry of The Episcopal Church (FIN020).

* Establish Trust Fund 1195, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society Long-Term Reserve Fund for the general purposes of the Society, with an initial investment of $16,340,000 (FIN021).

* Agree to “conclude”  a loan and interest of $233,614.38 extended by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the DFMS is the church’s corporate and legal entity) to the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, the Episcopal Church in Navajoland shall pay $100 as payment in full through deduction from its next monthly block grant payment and shall pay its full assessment beginning in 2019 (FIN022).

* Approve revisions for the 2019 Budget for The Episcopal Church as follows: Non-government refugee ministry budget increased from $113,000 to $319,816; add $125,000 for Spanish translation of the Title IV training website; and $449,000 for ongoing software development, licensing, hosting, maintenance fees; and technical requirements of General Convention (FIN023).

* Distribute  $270,000 of the total $667,000 Long-term Development Grants (budget line 402 here) for the four principal dioceses engaged in Native American ministry as follows: Navajoland: Hozho Center, Fort Defiance Arizona, to complete its hospital, $100,000;  Navajoland: St. Christopher’s, Bluff, Utah, renovation work on church buildings, $100,000; South Dakota: renovation of a house on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, McLaughlin, South Dakota, for youth ministry programming and rental, $40,000; Navajoland, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska: Indigenous Theological Education programming, $30,000 (FIN024).

* Authorize distribution of income from Trust Fund 809 up to $61,700, for additional expenses of educational and theological programs, as recommended by the Commission on Theological Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CETALC) at its meeting in the Dominican Republic, July 31-August 4, 2018; disbursement conditioned on the receipt of appropriate documentation to secure financial and operational accountability (FIN025).

* Recognizes the “diligent and effective work” of its Audit Committee and extends thanks to Nancy Koonce, Michele Racusin and Jeff Fisher (FIN026).

* Grant assessment waiver for the 2019-2021 triennium to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, according to the following schedule: 12 percent in 2019; 14 percent in 2020; 15 percent in 2021; grant a one-year assessment waiver for 2019 to Diocese of Colombia (will pay $1,500 for 2019), Diocese of the Dominican Republic (will pay $15,000 for 2019); grant a one-year assessment waiver to the Episcopal Church in Taiwan (will pay $3,000 for 20190; deny waiver request from the Diocese of Dallas (FIN027).

* Establish Trust Fund 196, St. Mary’s Cadillac Investments for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Cadillac in Michigan  (FIN028).

* Allocate 20 percent, or $920,000, of the estimated budgetary surplus for the 2016-2018 triennium to the short-term reserves; balance of the estimated surplus, $3.680 million, to remain in the cash operating account, which has been used to fund various non-budgetary actions approved by council; allocate $2.880 million of the proceeds from the sale of Block 87 in Austin, Texas, to the church’s short-term reserves (FIN029).

Committee on Governance and Operations

* Approve the amended Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) Employee Handbook Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity (GO001).

* Approve the revised DFMS Employee Handbook Policy 101 – Professional Development (GO002).

* Approve the Episcopal Church Women’s (ECW) By-laws as updated and adopted at the July 2018 Triennial Meeting; approve the slate of officers and members of the national board elected at the June 2018 Triennial Meeting and those since appointed by the board (GO003).

* Thank David Booth Beers for his service as chancellor to the presiding bishop and wish him and his wife, Debbie, a happy retirement (G004).

* Support the conclusions and the recommendations of the working group that the president of the House of Deputies appoint lay and clergy members to a new Court of Review with the consent of the lay and clergy members of Executive Council; resolution needed because General Convention Resolution 2018-A110 established but did not expressly include a method by which such court for clergy discipline cases was to be initially populated (GO005).

* Exclusion of spouses at Lambeth Conference: When do all mean all? (See Episcopal News Service story here.) (GO006).

Committee on Mission Beyond The Episcopal Church

* Approve the presiding bishop’s and the president of the House of Deputies’ appointments of the Rev. Ted Thompson, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Alfred E. Moss, Baltimore, Maryland, to the Interreligious Convening Table of the National Council of Churches (MB002).

* Express gratitude for the continuing dialogue with The United Methodist Church; recognize the faithfulness of members of The United Methodist Church as they meet in a Special Session of the General Conference, Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri (MB003).

* Express “deepest concern regarding the humanitarian and political crisis affecting Venezuela and sends greetings to our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Venezuela (MB004)

Committee on Mission Within The Episcopal Church

* Authorize Young Adult and Campus Ministry grants recommended by the YACM grant review committee for payment from line item 359 of the budget (MW001).

* Authorize Young Adult and Seminarian grants recommended by the United Thank Offering (UTO) Board for payment from UTO grant funds (MW002).

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Executive Council asks bishops, spouses to ‘prayerfully and carefully consider’ response to Lambeth decision

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 4:53pm

Many of the major liturgies during the Lambeth Conference of bishops take place at Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the archbishop of Canterbury and what is considered the “mother church” of the Anglican Communion. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] Executive Council has asked The Episcopal Church’s bishops and their spouses, and the House of Bishops collectively, “to prayerfully and carefully consider her/his/their response, choices and actions” in the light of what it calls the “troubling circumstances” of the decision to exclude same-sex spouses from to the 2020 Lambeth Conference of bishops.

Council unanimously approved a resolution on Feb. 25 that says it finds the decision “inconsistent” with the positions of The Episcopal Church and with multiple statements of Anglican Communion entities that have urged the church to listen to the experiences LGBTQ persons.

“Exclusion of spouses at Lambeth Conference: When does all mean all?” calls the decision “particularly misguided and inconsistent with the stated purposes of the conference,” in part because the conference planning group decided to run a joint program for bishops and their spouses, rather than the traditional parallel programs. The FAQs section of the Lambeth2020 website says that the joint conference “is in recognition of the vital role spouses play across the Anglican Communion and a desire to support them in their ministry.”

The resolution came in response to a Feb. 15 Anglican Communion News Service blog in which Anglican Communion Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon wrote that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had invited “every active bishop.” However, Idowu-Fearon said, “it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference.” He said the Anglican Communion defines marriage as “the lifelong union of a man and a woman,” as codified in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

The cameras were out Feb. 24 as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached during Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement after council’s vote that the resolution “reflects our commitment to be ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, where all are truly welcome,” he said.

“It reflects our commitment to be an inclusive church, not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture but based on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. It reflects our belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians should be true for the church today: ‘All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.’”

The resolution also:

* expresses its love, support, concern and prayers for the spouses who have not been invited or may not be invited to the Lambeth Conference, and

* affirms and laments the hurt and pain this action causes to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons across the Anglican Communion.

The resolution includes a lengthy summary of what it calls General Convention’s more than 40 years of “support of homosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons, their partners, spouses and families, both in secular society and in the church,” beginning in 1976.

It offers a summary of statements and resolutions that have been issued by Anglican Communion entities about the full inclusion LGBTQ people in the life of the church. Among those are the Anglican Consultative Council’s decision in 2012 to commend to the communion for study the statement of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation’s “Rites Relating to Marriage”.

Section 15.5 of that statement says “Some in the Anglican Communion are discerning that much of what is held to be true of Christian marriage between a man and a woman is also found and given expression in faithful, committed, monogamous, lifelong relationships between two men or two women, whether it is called a marriage or something else. This provides an opportunity for continuing conversation within the Communion, and listening to the experiences of gay and lesbian disciples of Christ.”

The council passed the lengthy resolution on the final day of its four-day meeting here after its governance and operations committee spent hours the day before writing and revising it.

The Rev. Aaron Perkins told the committee on Feb. 23 that he and council colleague Dianne Pollard discussed House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings’ opening remarks and agreed that “the council should not leave here without some sort of statement, without some sort of resolution that speaks to the issue.”

When the council’s debate raised the question of why the resolution does not tell Welby to invite same-sex spouses,  Oklahoma Bishop Ed Konieczny said he and his committee colleagues tried to “be in a place where we said something that definitely describes our concerns about what has happened without crossing over into a place where we’re being attacking in some way.”

The committee hoped that the resolution would support people who can be part of an ongoing conversation with Anglican Communion officials in hopes of giving Welby “the opportunity to react or respond on his own, if there is flexibility in that space,” he said.

“[If] we don’t give him the space, if there is any, to change his mind,” the rest of the communion will feel that Welby is “bound to the pressures” of The Episcopal Church.

Pollard urged the council to approve the resolution because it shows that the council disapproves of a decision that is “unfair to those that we hold dear.” In addition, she said, “giving the archbishop [of Canterbury] quote, wiggle room, unquote, is a very good strategic idea while trying to avoid telling him to do something.”

The resolution “certainly is not the strongest resolution that I would have liked but I think that it is a good middle point,” she said.

The Rev. Mally Lloyd reminded the council that it meets three more times before the Lambeth Conference convenes on July 23, 2020. “What I like about this resolution is that it is very open and if we need to narrow it down and be more directive, we can,” she said.

Meanwhile, Welby’s exclusion of same-sex spouses will no doubt be discussed at the House of Bishops’ previously scheduled meeting March 12-15, 2019, at Kanuga outside Hendersonville, North Carolina.

During the governance and operations committee meeting on Feb. 23, Konieczny noted that the 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, or ACC, is scheduled for April 28-May 5 in Hong Kong. He will be attending for the first time as the bishop member of The Episcopal Church’s three-person delegation.

“I hate to say this, but I’m looking at it from the political sense of how do I engage this conversation when I get to Hong  Kong with the ACC,” he told the committee.

Executive Council’s Committee on Governance and Operations on Feb. 23 considers the wording of the resolution responding to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision to not invite same-sex spouses to the 2020 Lambeth Conference of bishops. The entire council approved the resolution the next day. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

In Jennings’ remarks on Feb. 21, she told the council that Welby’s decision to not invite same-sex spouses to the conference was wrong on many levels.

Jennings said that Idowu-Fearon’s post  promulgated “a misconception about the Anglican Communion’s governance” by claiming that the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage is defined by that resolution because the Lambeth Conference has no constitutional power to set policy for the communion. That authority rests in the Anglican Consultative Council, which is seen as the corporate entity of the Anglican Communion by the four Instruments of Communion’s governing documents, and British law.

The Lambeth Conference is a periodic gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion, which the archbishop of Canterbury calls and issues invitations for. The last gathering was in 2008. The July 23-Aug 2, 2020, gathering will be held, as is tradition, in Canterbury, England, with most of the sessions at the University of Kent. The theme for the 2020 gathering is “God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together.”

Konieczny said on Feb. 23 that he thought there was a possibility that Welby could change his mind, despite saying that “I know that the word from [Anglican Communion Secretary General] Josiah [Idowu-Fearon] is that this is a done deal; there’s no more conversation.

“Personally, I don’t think the cement has completely solidified around that yet,” Konieczny added.

“I don’t that [Welby] was prepared for this to become public yet,” he said. “He was pre-empted.”

While some have suggested that Episcopal Church bishops and/or their spouses should boycott Lambeth 2020. Konieczny argued that staying away would not “serve our cause.” The bishops and spouses ought “to be there to witness to what’s happening and say this is inappropriate,” he said.

Welby’s refusal currently effects at least two bishops and one bishop-elect in the Anglican Communion who are publicly known to have same-sex spouses. Diocese of New York Bishop Assistant Mary Glasspool is currently The Episcopal Church’s one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse.

The Rev. Thomas Brown is due to be ordained and consecrated on June 22 as the next bishop of the Diocese of Maine. He is married to the Rev. Thomas Mousin. The diocese elected Brown on Feb. 9. His election is about to enter the consent process canonically required in all bishop elections. A majority of diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction must sign off on each election.

The only other active bishop in the Anglican Communion to whom Welby’s decision is known to apply is Diocese of Toronto Bishop Suffragan Kevin Robertson, who married Mohan Sharma, his partner of nearly 10 years, on Dec. 28, 2018. The diocese congratulated him on his marriage, which was attended by Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson and Toronto Bishop Diocesan Andrew Asbil. Robertson recently told Episcopal News Service that Welby told him in person earlier this month that Sharma would not be invited. Robertson and Sharma are the parents of two young children.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting took place at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel at the Reed Conference Center.

Some council members tweeted from the meeting using #ExCoun.

Episcopal News Service’s coverage of the meeting is here.

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

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Movement against proposed gas pipeline inspires Virginia Episcopalians’ environmental advocacy

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 2:58pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in Virginia are joining a movement to block a proposed mid-Atlantic gas pipeline that they say will disrupt and pollute minority communities and increase American dependence on fossil fuels at a time when the church and others are pushing for greater reliance on renewable energy sources.

The proposed multibillion-dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas underground 600 miles from West Virginia through Virginia and deep into North Carolina. The pipeline’s opponents drew new attention to their concerns this week at a rally that featured former Vice President Al Gore and the Rev. William Barber II, one of the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign. The Episcopal Church is one of the many partners in the Poor People’s Campaign.

We are all #UnionHill! Testifiers, including @RevDrBarber and @algore, at @PpcVirginia’s Moral Call for Ecological Justice tonight. #PoorPeoplesCampaign pic.twitter.com/cs15u5DVCx

— Poor People's Campaign (@UniteThePoor) February 20, 2019

“It’s been miraculous to see people come together,” the Rev. Weston Mathews, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia, said in an interview with Episcopal News Service. He was among the hundreds who attended the rally Feb. 19 in a school gymnasium in Buckingham, Virginia.

The Episcopal Church’s interest in such issues focuses on both creation care and environmental racism, Mathews says. The rally was held in the mostly black community of Union Hill, which would bear a large part of the pipeline’s negative impact. Dominion Energy and its partners want to build a compression station there, which opponents warn would spew toxic pollutants into the air.

“The pipeline should be canceled,” Gore said, according to a Prince Williams Times report. “It’s an environmental injustice, and it’s not too much to say environmental racism is located in this historically black community.” Union Hill was founded by former slaves who were freed after the Civil War.

The companies’ website lists jobs, lower energy costs and tax revenue among the benefits of a new underground pipeline, which it calls “the safest form of energy transportation in the country.”

Mathews participated in the Feb. 19 rally as a member of The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism, which was established in response to General Convention resolutions related to the environment.

One focus of the task force is on changing government policies that result in “disproportionate health or environmental impact on those living closest to the land in subsistence cultures, ethnic minorities or poor communities.” Another goal is to study practices aimed at “supporting humanity’s transition from industrial life to sustainable life.” The threat of climate change looms large over that mission.

Fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are “the building blocks of our climate crisis,” Mathews said, so activists feel an urgency in stopping new construction. Episcopalians in his own congregation and others around the Diocese of Virginia are supportive of such advocacy and generally committed to conservation of Virginia’s natural beauty, he said.

He also is working on these issues through the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, a nonprofit he founded a year ago with a fellow Virginia Episcopalian, Robert Dilday, who is now a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

Dilday told ENS that environmental advocacy comes down to Episcopalians living out their baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.”

“That’s the overarching criteria by which we come to this environmental justice movement. The ways in which creation is being degraded is not only a way in which God’s gift is lost,” Dilday said, “but also, people who are most impacted by it tend to be marginalized communities.”

The Episcopal Church has taken a stand against environmental racism at least since 2000, when General Convention passed a resolution supporting efforts to “eliminate the practice of locating polluting industries disproportionately near neighborhoods inhabited by people of color or the poor.”

Episcopalians have been particularly active in recent years in supporting demonstrations against pipeline projects that could pose a threat to the environment and to minority communities, from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the Dakotas to the Great Lakes.

The Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, one of numerous organizations opposing the pipeline project, is focused on raising money to support nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action on environmental and conservation issues. Its current work is in Virginia, mainly because Mathews and Dilday are based there, but they are leaving the door open to expanding their work beyond the state in the future.

Much of the success in opposing pipeline projects is measured by victories in court or with regulatory agencies, but for residents who live in the path of such proposals, Episcopalians often can serve them by “just being with people and meeting with them and helping them keep their morale up,” Mathews said. “That’s the good, slow work of environmental justice organizing.”

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

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No invitan a cónyuges del mismo sexo a la Conferencia de Lambeth del año próximo

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:07pm

Muchas de las principales liturgias durante la Conferencia de Lambeth tendrán lugar en la catedral de Cantórbery, la sede del Arzobispo de Cantórbery y la que se considera “iglesia madre” de la Comunión Anglicana. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service] El arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby no invita a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020 a los cónyuges de obispos que sean del mismo sexo.

La decisión de Welby se hizo pública en una nota del secretario general de la Comunión Anglicana Josiah Idowu-Fearon publicada en el blog del servicio Informativo de la Comunión Anglicana , en la cual él decía que “se han enviado invitaciones a todos los obispos activos” porque “así debe ser: reconocemos que todos los consagrados al oficio de obispo deberían poder asistir”. Esas invitaciones provienen tradicionalmente del arzobispo de Cantórbery.

“Pero el proceso de la invitación también ha debido tener en cuenta la posición de la Comunión Anglicana sobre el matrimonio, que es la de una unión de por vida entre un hombre y una mujer”, escribió Idowu-Fearon. “Esta es la posición establecida en la Resolución I.10 de la Conferencia de Lambeth 1998. En virtud de esto, sería inapropiado que cónyuges del mismo sexo sean invitados a la conferencia”.

Idowu-Fearon dijo que el arzobispo de Cantórbery “ha tenido una serie de conversaciones privadas por teléfono e intercambios de cartas con unos cuantos individuos a quienes esto se aplica”.

La Resolución 1.10 fue aprobada por la Conferencia en 1998 luego de acalorado debate.

En la actualidad, la Iglesia Episcopal tiene un solo obispo en activo servicio que tenga un cónyuge del mismo sexo. La Rvdma. Mary Glasspool, electa obispa sufragánea de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles en diciembre de 2009 y consagrada en mayo de 2010 —y quien ha sido obispa auxiliar de la Diócesis de Nueva York  desde abril de 2016— está casada con Becki Sander, su pareja de más de 30 años.

Mary Glasspool, obispa auxiliar de la Diócesis de Nueva York.

Glasspool le dijo a Episcopal News Service el 18 de febrero en una entrevista telefónica que ella había recibido una carta de Welby el 4 de diciembre de 2018 en la que él le decía que le estaba escribiendo “directamente ya que siento que te debo una explicación por mi decisión de no invitar a tu cónyuge a la Conferencia de Lambeth, una decisión que estoy consciente de que será para ti motivo de dolor y que lamento profundamente”.

Welby se reunió con Glasspool y Sander en septiembre cuando él visitó la iglesia de La Trinidad [Trinity] de Wall Street. Ella la definió como una sesión de familiarización, que no abordó [el tema de] la Conferencia de Lambeth.

Glasspool dijo que ella y Sander, así como el obispo de Nueva York Andy Dietsche y el obispo sufragáneo de Nueva York Allen Shin, “han estado orando y conversando acerca de esto” desde que recibieron la carta. El obispo primado Michael Curry también se reunió con Glasspool y Sander para discutir la carta de Welby. “ Uno de mis aportes fue cómo podemos dar un testimonio positivo, creativo y sensible del amor de Dios en Jesucristo nuestro Señor”, dijo, respecto a cómo ellas y la Iglesia deben responder a la decisión del Arzobispo.

Curry estaba en Sudáfrica el 18 de febrero y emitió un breve comunicado en el que decía: “Aún no he tenido la oportunidad de consultar con el liderazgo competente de la Iglesia, pero así lo haré”.

Cónyuges que asistieron a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2008 posan el 25 de julio en el campus de la Universidad de Kent, en Cantórbery. Foto de Archivos Anglicanos.

Tanto Glasspool como Sander le respondieron a Welby en cartas separadas a fines de diciembre. Glasspool le contaba  a Welby, en una carta de dos páginas, partes de la cual ella le leyó a ENS, acerca de su experiencia de 30 años en la Iglesia Episcopal “y hasta donde la Iglesia ha llegado”, y mencionaba la carta de Martin Luther King Jr. desde la cárcel de Birmingham, especialmente su énfasis en las leyes justas e injustas.

“¿Cuándo la Iglesia aceptará el don de la comunidad LGBTQ?”, le preguntaba ella a Welby. “Los jóvenes nos observan. Si no han descartado a todo el cristianismo por homófobo, [es porque] encuentran a la Iglesia Episcopal acogedora e incluyente”.

Ella también le dijo al Arzobispo, “Lo importante que quiero decir es acerca del amor. Me refiero a personas que se aman y que miran a la Iglesia para que les apoye en su matrimonio de por vida, en el cual sostenemos los valores de fidelidad, respeto, dignidad, veracidad, monogamia y el amor que es don de nuestro Dios amoroso para todos nosotros.

“Luego de una vida entera de debates, estoy relativamente confiada de que la Iglesia Episcopal nunca le volverá a dar la espalda a la comunidad LGBTQ. ¿Se dirá lo mismo de Lambeth 2020?

Glasspool dijo a ENS que Sander hizo notar en su conversación acerca de la decisión de Welby que parece basarse en un aparente supuesto de que los “cónyuges son simplemente una extensión de los obispos con quienes están casados, y que de alguna manera hay una visión del matrimonio que no se aviene bien a un modelo de relación igualitaria, recíproca o mutua”.

La obispa dijo que ella espera asistir a Lambeth 2020, y le ha pedido a Sander que la acompañe como muestra de apoyo. “El problema es [si] ella será incluida en la conversación”, señaló Glasspool.

Glasspool dijo que ella se propone “consultar a tantas personas como estén dispuestas” en la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos programada previamente del 12 al 15 de marzo de 2019 en Kanuga en las afueras de Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte. “No con la expectativa de que todos seamos de la misma opinión, sino porque no deseo responder solamente como individuo, sino más bien con la percepción del organismo como un todo”, señaló.

Antes de la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos en marzo, el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia, compuesto de obispos, clérigos y laicos, comenzó su reunió de invierno el 21 de febrero en Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Thomas James Brown, obispo electo de Maine.

El Rdo. Thomas Brown debe ser ordenado y consagrado el 22 de junio como el próximo obispo de la Diócesis de Maine. Él está casado con el Rdo. Thomas Mousin. La diócesis eligió a Brown el 9 de febrero. Su elección está a punto de entrar en el proceso de consentimiento que se exige canónicamente en todas las elecciones de obispo. Una mayoría de los comités permanentes diocesanos y de los obispos con jurisdicción deben  aprobar cada elección.

Brown le dijo a ENS que él no haría ningún comentario acerca de la decisión de la Conferencia de Lambeth debido a que su proceso de consentimiento esta aún pendiente.

El obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Toronto, Kevin Robertson, se casó con Mohan Sharma el 28 de diciembre de 2018. La diócesis lo felicitó por su matrimonio, al cual asistió el arzobispo de Toronto Colin Johnson y el obispo diocesano de Toronto Andrew Asbil.

Robertson dijo en una entrevista telefónica con ENS el 18 de febrero que Welby le dijo en persona que Sharma no sería invitado. Robertson estaba en el Palacio de Lambeth, residencia oficial de Welby en Londres, el 7 de febrero, como parte de una orientación anual de 10 días para nuevos obispos dirigida por la catedral de Cantórbery,  cuando lo llamaron a la oficina de Welby. La conversación tuvo lugar dos días antes de la elección de Brown en Maine.

“Él me dijo que sólo había dos que estuvieran en esta situación en la Comunión, ‘tú y Mary’, y dijo que si invitaba a [nuestros] cónyuges a la Conferencia de Lambeth, no habría una Conferencia de Lambeth”, explicó Robertson.

Welby, dijo Robertson, parecía estar “dispuesto a ir más allá de lo que sucedió en 2008 cuando no invitaron a Gene Robinson. Él estaba dispuesto a invitarnos a Mary y a mí, pero sería demasiado invitar también a nuestros cónyuges”.

Su conversación se produjo el mismo día en que el arzobispo nigeriano Nicholas Okoh, primado de la Iglesia Anglicana de Nigeria y presidente de la Conferencia Futuro Anglicano Global, o GAFCON, emitió una “advertencia” en que decía que él esperaba que Robertson “y su pareja asistirán [a Lambeth] y fueran recibidos con pleno derecho.”

Okoh manifestó, “con gran pesar tenemos que llegar a la conclusión de que la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020 será un obstáculo para el evangelio al abrazar una enseñanza y un modelo de vida que están profundamente en desacuerdo con el testimonio bíblico y el cristianismo apostólico a través de las edades”.

Robertson dijo que rehusar invitar a su cónyuge y al de Glasspool es “hiriente”, Y agregó que él y Sharma, que tienen dos hijos, han estado juntos durante diez años.

“En verdad lo encuentro bastante ofensivo. Sé que es una palabra dura, pero estoy consciente de que la Comunión Anglicana no es unánime en torno al matrimonio”, afirmó. “Sin embargo, la decisión de invitar a todos los otros cónyuges sin invitar a los nuestros, creo yo, envía un claro mensaje respecto a la manera en que las relaciones [entre personas] del mismo sexo se valoran en la Comunión. Creo que es una señal alarmante”.

Kevin Robertson, obispo sufragáneo de la Diócesis de Toronto

Robertson dijo que su primer impulso fue no ir a Lambeth sin su cónyuge. Si bien no ha tomado aún una decisión definitiva, agregó que, en el momento, cree que es importante que todos los obispos que se encuentre en esta posición vayan para que sus voces sean tenidas en cuenta.

Durante el tiempo que pasó con los 29 obispos que fueron parte de la orientación en Cantórbery, Robertson dijo que algunos de ellos discutieron la carta de Okoh. Si bien todos no estuvieron de acuerdo, esas conversaciones “me hicieron recordar que es muy importante estar en la conversación; es importante estar en el proceso de entablar relaciones, esa es la única manera en que  vamos a superar esto”.

“Francamente, es por esto que me siento tan desencantado de que no inviten a los cónyuges. Si vamos a salir de esto, será porque la gente llegue a conocer a obispos en relaciones con personas del mismo sexo y se den cuenta de que también somos personas. No [se resolverá] excluyendo a las personas. Creo que es lo peor que puede hacerse”.

El Sínodo General de la Iglesia Anglicana del Canadá está programado para votar en julio de 2019 sobre el cambio de su canon matrimonial para permitir matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo.

Los obispos asistentes a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2008 posan el 25 de julio para la tradicional foto en grupo. Foto de Archivos Anglicanos.

La Conferencia de Lambeth es una reunión periódica de los obispos de toda la Comunión Anglicana, a la cual el arzobispo de Cantórbery convoca y para la cual cursa invitaciones. La última reunión fue en 2008. La reunión tendrá lugar del 23 de julio al 2 de agosto, como es tradición, en Cantórbery, Inglaterra, siendo la mayoría de las sesiones en la Universidad de Kent.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby y su esposa, Caroline, aparecen en el sitio web de la Conferencia de Lambeth 2020. Foto Conferencia de Lambeth 2020

Los cónyuges suelen participar en un programa paralelo. Sin embargo, en 2020, habrá un programa conjunto por primera vez. Los cónyuges de los obispos asistirán a sesiones combinadas “en puntos clave en la totalidad del programa”, según información que se encuentra aquí. Habrá también sesiones separadas sobre las responsabilidades específicas del ministerio de los obispos y los cónyuges, según el sitio web de Lambeth. El sitio web de la Conferencia destaca una foto de Welby y su esposa, Caroline. El sitio lo cambiaron recientemente para añadir un enlace al blog de Idowu-Fearon. Ahora dice: “El arzobispo de Cantórbery, Justin Welby, envía invitaciones personales a todos los obispos con derecho y a sus cónyuges (excluyendo a los cónyuges del mismo sexo) y está inmensamente deseoso de recibirles”.

La declaración de Idowu-Fearon de que “todos aquellos consagrados en el oficio de obispo deben poder asistir” a la reunión de Lambeth podría verse como un cierto avance respecto a la anterior Conferencia de Lambeth. En 2008, el entonces arzobispo de Cantórbery Rowan Williams rehusó invitar al obispo Gene Robinson, que se había convertido en el primer obispo abiertamente homosexual y con pareja de la Comunión Anglicana en 2003. Él prestó servicios como obispo de Nuevo Hampshire hasta su jubilación en enero de 2013. Él y su entonces pareja de 25 años, Mark Andrew, contrajeron una unión civil in 2008 y se casaron en 2010. Se divorciaron en 2014.

En la reunión de la Cámara de Obispos en marzo de 2008, tres obispos a quien la entonces obispa primada Katharine Jefferts Schori les pidió que discutieran la invitación de Robinson, pendiente aún en ese momento, informaron que “una invitación plena no es posible”.

Robinson instó a sus colegas a no boicotear la conferencia debido a su exclusión. En lugar de eso, dirigiéndose a la Cámara de Obispos, les instó a participar plenamente de la misma, y les dio las gracias a todos los que estaban dispuestos a “quedarse a la mesa”.

Al final de esa reunión, los obispos dijeron en parte, “Aunque no todos apoyamos la consagración del Obispo de Nuevo Hampshire, reconocemos que él ha sido canónicamente electo y consagrado obispo en esta Iglesia. Lamentamos que él solo entre los obispos que ministran dentro de las fronteras territoriales de sus diócesis y provincias, no recibiera una invitación para asistir a la Conferencia de Lambeth”.

Gene Robinson, entonces obispo de la Diócesis de Nuevo Hampshire, firma ejemplares de su libro In the Eye of the Storm, el 31 de julio de 2008 en el Mercado de la Conferencia de Lambeth en el campus de la Universidad de Kent en Cantórbery. Foto de Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS.

Algunos otros obispos de los más de 165 países en que la Comunión Anglicana está presente rehusaron asistir a la Conferencia de Lambeth 2008 debido a discrepancias teológicas con el principal cuerpo de la Iglesia acerca de la plena inclusión de personas LGBTQ y mujeres en la vida de la Iglesia.

Robinson asistió a la reunión en lo que él llamó un acto de testimonio. Los organizadores le permitieron estar en el Mercado de Lambeth, el área de exposición y venta de la conferencia, una invitación que, en un principio, él rechazó. También le permitieron asistir a dos recepciones ofrecidas por los obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal que tuvieron la deliberada intención de permitirle reunirse con colegas de alrededor del mundo. También lo invitaron a asistir a cultos y a hablar en varios otros sitios del área de Cantórbery, entre ellos la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Kent.

– La Rda. Mary Frances Schjonberg es redactora sénior y reportera de Episcopal News Service. Traducción de Vicente Echerri.

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Vida Joven de México ofrece a los huérfanos un hogar, educación y oportunidad de vida

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 5:25pm

Una mamá y un tutor ayudan a los niños con la tarea después de la cena, en Vida Joven de México, un orfanato en Tijuana, México. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

[Servicio de Noticias Episcopales – Tijuana, México] Rutina y orden. Esa es la regla de la vida en Vida Joven de México, un orfanato donde viven 24 niños mexicanos abandonados de 2 a 18 años.

La casa  se encuentra  cerca de una prisión para hombres de máxima seguridad, donde en la década de 1970, surgió una “aldea” improvisada de mujeres y niños pobres para vivir cerca de los hombres. Fue peligroso; los niños fueron testigos de violencia, asesinatos, tráfico de drogas y abuso.

Beth Beall, directora ejecutiva de Vida Joven en EE. UU., realiza visitas semanales al orfanato desde su casa en San Diego. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

En 1996, los episcopales de Los Ángeles se enteraron de la aldea y respondieron con Vida Joven, que permanece en su edificio de concreto original de 2,000 pies cuadrados con capacidad para 25 niños.“Estábamos destinados a rescatar a los niños del peligro. Nunca tuvimos la intención de ser un lugar para que los niños crecieran”, dijo Sylvia Laborin, directora fundadora de Vida Joven, que se jubilará más adelante este año después de 22 años.

En México, los niños abandonados caen bajo la tutela del estado y son enviados a refugios u orfanatos, o terminan viviendo en las calles. El ochenta por ciento de los niños que llegan a Vida Joven provienen de agencias de servicios sociales; el 90 por ciento de ellos tiene al menos un padre vivo, pero todos han sido entregados o abandonados, dijo Beth Beall, la directora ejecutiva de Vida Joven en Estados Unidos.

Tijuana, que limita con San Diego, es una de las ciudades más peligrosas del planeta. Con una población de 1.7 millones, la tasa de homicidios de la ciudad llegó a 2.500 en 2018. Se estima que entre 3.000 y 4000 niños están bajo custodia estatal en Baja California, el estado mexicano en la península de Baja California, donde Tijuana es la ciudad más grande.

Un niño de 5 años, uno de los cuatro hermanos que viven en Vida Joven de México, coloca  sillas después de la cena. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

El tráfico de drogas es en gran parte responsable de la violencia, y muchos de los padres de los niños abandonados sufren de adicción a las drogas. Por ejemplo, cuatro hermanos aterrizaron en Vida Joven después de que un vecino viera al mayor, una niña de 7 años, que buscaba comida en la basura. Ambos padres se drogaban.

“Tenemos más necesidades en este momento, y no me refiero a alimentos, suministros o lo que sea”, dijo Laborin. “Son las necesidades de los niños. Están perdidos… carecen de raíces”.

Hace veinte años, los niños eran “muy obedientes y amables”; sin embargo, hoy,  Laborin dijo, “están enojados con sus familias, con todo”.

La familia es importante en la cultura latina. Es costumbre que los niños permanezcan con sus familias, por lo que vivir separados de ellas puede ser difícil para los niños, especialmente los adolescentes.

“Algunos se han escapado para reunirse con la familia, y no ha funcionado bien”, dijo Laborin.

Ahora que es una institución de la Diócesis de San Diego y una organización sin fines de lucro establecida en EE. UU., Vida Joven  opera con un presupuesto anual de 320.000 dólares, con operaciones de financiamiento de 220.000 dólares en Tijuana. Cuesta alrededor de 8.000 dólares por niño, la mayoría de los cuales se destina a los salarios del personal, dijo Beall.

Vida Joven funciona con 15 miembros del personal las 24 horas, incluido un psicólogo y un trabajador social, ninguno de los cuales vive en el lugar. Los niños duermen en dormitorios: bebés y niños pequeños juntos en una habitación; niños mayores y niñas en dormitorios separados, cada uno equipado con un baño. Las camas están bien hechas, la ropa colocada en el armario. Hay una oficina administrativa, un espacio dedicado al estudio, una cocina y un comedor, que también sirve como espacio común para la tarea.

Recientemente,  un jueves por la tarde, después de una comida de frijoles refritos, guacamole y tortillas, los niños abrieron sus cuadernos y comenzaron su tarea.

En el México moderno, es imposible encontrar un trabajo como cajero sin educación, algo que los líderes y partidarios de Vida Joven enfatizan. México ofrece educación escolar pública gratuita, pero cuesta alrededor de 100 dólares comprar los uniformes necesarios para comenzar el jardín infantil, mientras que el trabajador promedio en Tijuana gana 4 dólares al día, dijo Beall.

Una mamá ayuda a una niña con su tarea. La educación es una parte importante de la vida en Vida Joven de México. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

Muchos de los padres de los niños tienen poca o ninguna educación más allá de la escuela primaria. En el pasado, los estudiantes podían abandonar la escuela después del sexto grado; hoy el gobierno exige una educación hasta12º grado. Sin embargo, como ha descubierto el liderazgo de Vida Joven, la capacidad supera el espacio en unos 10.000 estudiantes.Los estudiantes de Vida Joven en edad de educación secundaria asisten a una escuela privada por 200 dólares  al mes.

“Tenemos la suerte de contar con donantes que realmente lo obtienen y financian la educación”, dijo Beall.

En los últimos años, Vida Joven ha recibido apoyo no solo de los donantes de EE. UU., sino también de personas de Tijuana que han venido a apoyar al orfanato.

Un mosaico fue colocado en una pared en el patio de Vida Joven de México en Tijuana. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service

“Así es cómo se ve la salvación: la gente está rescatando y salvando las vidas de estos niños”, dijo Beall. “Este es un lugar de sanidad. No todas las historias tienen un final feliz, pero sí sabemos que si no estuvieran aquí, estarían muertos o en el comercio sexual”.

Beall hace un gesto hacia un mosaico en el patio. “Estos niños han sido destrozados en pedazos. Les damos la oportunidad de crear algo mejor”, dijo. “Estamos aquí para amar, proteger y educar”.

Antes de que Laborin se convirtiera en directora de Vida Joven, trabajó como esteticista. Después de que su esposo muriera y sus hijos se casaran, cerró su tienda. Descubrió que “no hacer nada” era terrible. Entonces, vio un anuncio de trabajo para Vida Joven. Fue una de las 100 solicitantes y cinco seleccionadas para entrevistas.

“Vi este lugar y estaba sucio”, dijo. “Pensé, si me contratan, me quedaré por un tiempo”.

Una de las primeras cosas que hizo Laborin fue limpiar el edificio. Era algo que podía controlar porque, incluso con el orden y la rutina, no hay dos días iguales. Hace veintidós años, cuando llegaron los primeros niños, Laborin esperaba que sus pertenencias también llegaran. No fue así; sólo llegaron con la ropa puesta.

“La necesidad, en realidad, [era enorme] estaba abrumada totalmente”, dijo.

Sylvia Laborin, a la derecha, la directora fundadora de Vida Joven en Tijuana, y Beth Beall, directora ejecutiva de Vida Joven en Estados Unidos, conversaron durante la visita de Beall al orfanato. Foto: Lynette Wilson / Episcopal News Service.

Durante los primeros años, Laborin admite que sintió enojo hacia los padres de los niños por abandonarlos, hasta que un día una amiga le dijo que debía superar su enojo y colocarse en la situación de la gente. Después de eso, dijo, lo dejó pasar, pero admite que hasta el día de hoy, a veces “todavía no lo entiendo”.

Sin embargo, una de las cosas más importantes, dijo, es que sus ojos se abrieron a la humanidad y a las necesidades invisibles de la gente.

“Vivimos en una pequeña burbuja; no vemos”, dijo Laborin. “Ni siquiera conocía las necesidades”…

– Lynette Wilson es reportera y editora gerente de Episcopal News Service. Puede ser contactada en lwilson@episcopalchurch.org.

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Executive Council called on to reflect on the future of faith communities, Anglican Communion

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 4:17pm

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council opens its Feb. 21-24 meeting at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel with Morning Prayer. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Midwest City, Oklahoma] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, placed the future of faith and the church as an institution, and the shape of the Episcopal Church’s relationship with the Anglican Communion, before the Executive Council as it opened its four-day meeting here.

Curry framed his opening remarks around his experience the week before while visiting the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. While there, a young Anglican asked him if there was a future for the church.

“I realized he was asking if there is a future for faith,” he said. “Therefore does the church, the community of people who have faith in Jesus, have a future? That may be one of the most critical question before us in our time.”

The question applies to all faith communities, not just Episcopal ones or even solely Christian ones, he said.

Jennings devoted most of her opening remarks to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision to not invite same-sex spouses to the 2020 Lambeth Conference of bishops. She asked whether “there is still time to resolve this situation and ensure that all bishops’ spouses will be invited to the Lambeth Conference.”

Jennings said if the communion is “not yet able to hold a global meeting of Anglican bishops and spouses to which everyone is invited, then I think we should not be holding global meetings of Anglican bishops and spouses.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry poses a question to council members: Is there a future for faith? Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Do faith and faith communities have a future?

In answer to the question of the church’s future, Curry told the young man, “faith does not have a future if faith and religion is seen and understood primarily and essentially as an institutional arrangement.

“Faith will not have a future if we believe that the church is primarily an institution which we must prop it up to keep it going,” Curry said. “I say that as a 65-year-old man who, when he finishes his term as presiding bishop, will then go on the Church Pension Fund. I’m not anti-institutional.”

The sorts of questions the young man asked, Curry said, are not calling on the church to enact another strategic plan, but to risk “daring to ask the spirit where shall we go?”

Curry reminded the council that the Christian church has “only been an institution periodically; it began as a nascent Jesus Movement.” In later centuries, it became an institution that crowned emperors, only to be divided by theological schisms and reformations. The church has moved from the established churches of the majority to “a fragile minority.”

The way of love exemplified by Jesus is not just the way of love for the world, Curry said. It can be the way of life for the church if it can witness to that way of love. “When we are less than that, then we ought to die because we have nothing to give the world,” he said.

The presiding bishop insisted that the Holy Spirit was inspiring the members of council “to think, to pray, to listen what the spirt is saying to our church and to find our life.

“We may not have easy days ahead of us, but that’s all right. Our Lord was crucified; Pilate thought he killed him – thought he was down for the count, but on Sunday morning, the brother got up and that’s who we follow. If we follow his way of love, then the gates of hell will not prevail against us.”

Council gave Curry a standing ovation when he concluded.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president and council vice chair, told Executive Council that she hopes there is time to ensure that all bishops’ spouses will be invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Raising the Lambeth question

Anglican Communion Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon wrote in a Feb. 15 Anglican Communion News Service blog that Welby had invited “every active bishop” because “that is how it should be – we are recognizing that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend.

“But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman,” Idowu-Fearon wrote. “That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference.”

Resolution I.10 was passed by the conference in 1998 after heated debate.

Jennings said that Idowu-Fearon’s post promulgated “a misconception about the Anglican Communion’s governance” by claiming that the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage is defined by that resolution.

She said that among the communion’s four Instruments of Communion –  the archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council, or ACC – only the ACC is seen as the corporate entity of the Anglican Communion by the instruments’ governing documents and British law. Thus, Jennings said, setting policy is the ACC’s job.

She also noted that the resolution’s reference to marriage as a “lifelong union” seems to not pertain to the opposite-sex spouses of bishops who have been divorced and remarried but are still invited to Lambeth. “We are left to conclude that excluding same-sex spouses is a selective decision—perhaps even an arbitrary one,” she said.

Jennings suggested that if the communion cannot resolve to invite all of the bishops’ spouses, “I think that the day is coming when we will need to take a hard look at where and how we invest the resources of The Episcopal Church across the Anglican Communion.”

However, she cautioned, her stance “is not at all the same thing as saying that we should not be in relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

The Episcopal Church’s 2019-2021 budget pledges $1.15 million to the work of the Anglican Communion office (line 416 here) plus an additional $538,000 in block grants to other communion provinces. The budget also shows nearly $2.3 million in staff costs in the Anglican Communion budget lines, but that money covers members of The Episcopal Church staff who work with partners and program across the communion.

Echoing Curry’s distinction between a church’s institutional structures and the local incarnation of its mission, Jennings said her travels across the communion have shown her that the communion “not as a series of dictates from archbishops or an office in London, but as life-giving, life-saving, mutual relationships rooted in dioceses, congregations and networks across the world.

“That is the Anglican Communion that deserves our energy and attention, our commitment and our resources,” she said.

The impact of Welby’s decision

Welby’s refusal currently effects two bishops and one bishop-elect in the Anglican Communion. Diocese of New York Bishop Assistant Mary Glasspool is currently The Episcopal Church’s one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse.

The Rev. Thomas Brown is due to be ordained and consecrated on June 22 as the next bishop of the Diocese of Maine. He is married to the Rev. Thomas Mousin. The diocese elected Brown on Feb. 9. His election is about to enter the consent process canonically required in all bishop elections.

The only other active bishop in the Anglican Communion to whom Welby’s decision applies is Diocese of Toronto Bishop Suffragan Kevin Robertson, who married Mohan Sharma, his partner of nearly 10 years, on Dec. 28, 2018. The diocese congratulated him on his marriage, which was attended by Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson and Toronto Bishop Diocesan Andrew Asbil. Robertson recently told Episcopal News Service that Welby told him in person earlier this month that Sharma would not be invited. Robertson and Sharma are the parents of two young girls.

“I cannot overlook the fact that the Anglican Communion Office has created a public situation in which two children are learning that the hierarchy of the church considers their family to be a source of shame and worthy of exclusion,” Jennings said. “That makes me very angry. When little children are collateral damage, that is not the way of love.”

After Jennings concluded, she received a standing ovation from council and Curry replied “Thank you, Madam President. Amen.”

Also on the meeting’s first day

* Executive Council also heard a report from Treasurer Kurt Barnes that showed the church ended the 2016-2018 triennium with between $5 million and $6 million more in income than it had in expenses, due in large part to the startup of some programs that was delayed to the current triennium. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s investment portfolio was down just more than six percent in 2018, Barnes reported, noting that the year was hard on all investments. Saying that the DFMS (the church’s corporate and legal entity) “will always look at the long term,” Barnes said the approximately $40 million investment portfolio’s 10-year annual average is 9.7 percent after fees and expenses.

The portfolio recovered 6 percent in January. “We just hope and pray that it continues for the remainder of this year,” said Barnes, noting that growth this year impacts the amount of money available to the church two years from now, because of the way the budget’s draw on investment income is calculated. Council member Diane Pollard cautioned that some investors fear that January’s investment markets performance was “kind of like Disneyland” and will not be sustained.

“In college I learned that Darwin only used survival of the fittest once or twice, but referred more to empathy and survival is greatest among those who place communal interest first.” Treasurer Kurt Barnes on Episcopal Church support for the Diocese of Cuba #excoun pic.twitter.com/8bQSgRkYY9

— Frank Logue (@franklogue) February 21, 2019

Barnes also told the council that the sale of a city block in Austin, Texas, that it had hoped would be the site of a new Archives of the Episcopal Church netted “on the order of $20 million” after paying off the debt on the land. The church is bound by a confidentiality agreement typical for transactions of this type and magnitude with the buyers to not yet disclose the purchase price.

Diocese of Utah Bishop Scott Hayashi, an Executive Council member, provides music on Feb. 21 for his colleagues to sing “I want to walk as a child of the light” during Morning Prayer. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

The rest of the meeting

After the opening plenary on Feb. 21, council spent the rest of the day meeting in its four committees. The same will be true the morning of Feb. 22. Later that day, council members will visit the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum. The memorial and museum memorialize the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh, an act of domestic terrorism that killed 168 people and injured 600 others.

Committee meetings will take up the morning of Feb. 23, and members will return to a plenary session that afternoon during which the committees will begin their reports to the full body, proposing resolutions for the full body to consider. The members will travel to St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City for Eucharist the morning of Feb. 24. The council will conclude its meeting that afternoon.

The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1). The council comprises 38 members – 20 (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by the nine provincial synods for six-year terms – plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. In addition, the vice president of the House of Deputies, secretary, chief operating officer, treasurer and chief financial officer have seat and voice but no vote.

Some council members are tweeting from the meeting using #ExCoun.

The Feb. 21-24 meeting is taking place at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel at the Reed Conference Center.

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

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How2charist offers digital version on typical ‘instructed Eucharist’

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 9:26am

The parts of the priest’s vestments are explained at the start of the How2charist. Photo: Screengrab/How2charist

[Episcopal News Service] Run a traditional piece of Episcopal Church formation – the instructed Eucharist – through the new world of digital ministry and what do you get?

You get How2charist, an annotated video with a 28-page discussion guide for learning why Episcopalians do what they do when they celebrate the Eucharist. The on-screen explanations range from descriptions of the priest’s vestments and the vessels used on the altar to explanations of each part of the liturgy, such as the memorial acclamation and the epiclesis.

Many Episcopal priests occasionally preside at a Eucharist during which they stop the service to explain what they are doing and why, discussing tradition and liturgical theology. How2charist offers a seamless Eucharist that explains without stopping the action, so to speak.

The video can be viewed as a whole but is also available in individual chapters to make a four-session small-group series. Two of the sessions cover the flow of the Liturgy of the Word portion of the Eucharist through the Prayers of the People. The next two chapters show the Liturgy of the Table. The full film and the chapters can be viewed online or downloaded to use offline

It’s all free for the taking. The only “charge” is an email address for getting a “token” that provides access to the film and discussion guide.

How2charist is the culmination of a nearly 11-year-old dream of the Rev. Callie Swanlund, an associate rector at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwynne, Pennsylvania. It also represents an innovative collaboration between her and The Episcopal Church’s digital evangelism team.

The Rev. Callie Swanlund has been dreaming about making How2charist since she was in seminary. Photo: Screengrab/How2charist’s trailer

The idea for How2charist came to Swanlund in 2008 when she took a course at Church Divinity School of the Pacific with the Rev. Micah Jackson called “New Media in Worship & Preaching.” Swanlund started with the idea of an instructed Eucharist and thought about VH1’s Pop-Up Video series, which between 1996 and 2006 had put “pop up” bubbles – called “info nuggets” –  containing trivia, witticisms and other comments on music videos. Swanlund’s first version was a PowerPoint but, she and others kept thinking bigger.

In a screengrab from How2charist’s trailer, the Rev. Callie Swanlund breaks the host as an explanation appears on the screen.

How2charist has been available just since earlier this year. As of Feb. 20, the film has been viewed, at least in part, 1,310 times. Some 1,350 people have requested access codes to view it and the guide.

Feedback, both to Swanlund personally and via social media posts (which How2charist encourages) have shown her that the creative way that people are using How2charist “goes beyond anything I could have dreamed up,” she said in a telephone interview with Episcopal News Service. Those ways include congregations who will use it to help train their acolytes as well as dioceses using it in their classes for training would-be priests locally.

One congregation plans to “deconstruct” the video, reprinting some of the pop-up explanations to expand the special bulletins they use to guide guests who come to witness baptisms. “It goes back to, in some ways, what I was moving away from in making this digital version, but I love it,” she said. “It shows that they love the information contained it in and not just some flashy model of presentation.”

The film crew, led by Michael Collins, Episcopal Church manager of multimedia services, left, discusses its plan as the Rev. Callie Swanlund stands at the altar and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, listens at right. How2charist was staged at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ambler, Pennsylvania. The full-length Spanish version, at which Frausto presided at Church of the Epiphany in Los Angeles, is due out this spring. Photo: Jeremy Tackett

The choice of liturgical style was a challenge. “That was the fear that kept me awake,” Swanlund said. She knew she had a good film crew, a good group of volunteers both on screen and acting as consultants behind the scenes to prevent her from doing something “that is going to get me burned at the stake.” She also knew that “it’s me that it falls on” because she was claiming to be “representing the Eucharist to the entire Episcopal Church.”

Swanlund anticipated valid criticism. She also figured there might be some nitpickers “because we’re Episcopalians and we love to be nitpicky; I think it is one of our core values,” she said, laughing. Such criticism “comes from a place of deep love and care for our liturgy.”

Swanlund aimed for what might be called “a broad church” liturgical style, not too plain or “low church” and not too much of the so-called “smells and bells” associated with a “high-church” style of presiding. She encouraged the volunteer congregation to act the way they would in their own churches. So, some people crossed themselves frequently; others did not. Some sang and prayed with raised hands. Some knelt when others stood.

“I wanted to honor this liturgy that we share. It’s common prayer so I wanted to make it as common as possible, knowing that there are differences,” she said. The discussion guide gives viewers the chance to reflect on the differences they see.

Criticism “has been, so far, less than I anticipated,” but there has been some, she said. Very few people said that they wished the style had been lower, but some wished it had been higher, Swanlund said. And, then, there was the debate on the online discussion site Reddit about whether her left-handed-ness invalidated her blessings.

Some viewers debated whether it was appropriate for the Rev. Callie Swanlund to bless with her left hand. Photo: Screengrab/How2charist

There are overhead shots, close-up shots, multiple angles and slow-motion sequences. “We wanted to have the people watching it to have an intimate view of the Eucharist that they might never have in a typical Sunday service,” she said. A project with these kind of production values costs money.

Swanlund started an online fund-raising effort through Kickstarter to pay for How2charist. The effort began during General Convention’s meeting in Austin, Texas, last July.

The Diocese of Texas was an early backer, according to Swanlund. Carol Barnwell, who was then the diocesan director of communication, “was a cheerleader” even during the an earlier effort that Swanlund realized she was not in a position to pull off. Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce took Swanlund to meet other bishops in Austin. The diocese became How2charist’s largest backer. Swanlund also contacted other bishops she knew.

There were non-Episcopalians who became supporters, some at the $500-or-more partner level such as  Jenn Giles Kemper, the developer of the Sacred Ordinary Days planner. Giles Kemper is what Swanlund called a “liturgical Baptist” from Waco, Texas. “To see another woman entrepreneur say, ‘I’m committed to this project and also to other women doing ministerial entrepreneurship’ was really, really cool,” Swanlund said. “It buoyed me”

The support of 236 Kickstarter backers, including dioceses, congregations and individuals, raised $35,000. Swanlund said many backers whom she did not know have since introduced themselves to her at events and they seem to express “a communal pride” about being part of the project.

The film crew shot from many angles during the Eucharist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Photo: Jeremy Tackett

Meanwhile, How2charist fit with the mandate that General Convention gave the churchwide staff in 2015 (via Resolution 2015_B009) to create somewhat timeless content that would be available to the church for download. Jeremy Tackett, the church’s digital evangelist and senior manager for creative services, told ENS that “rather than simply try to figure out on our own what kind of content would be attractive to the church, we decided to look for creators who were already in the process of doing unique things in the church.”

He called Swanlund’s Kickstarter effort “innovative” and explained that “if the fundraising was successful on its own, we knew that we’d have a project with buy-in from folks who would use it once created.” Its success gave the Digital Evangelism department “an established proof of concept” that showed that the church’s partnership with Swanlund would be “good stewardship of our resources.”

Swanlund’s fund covered the costs of development and then filming the English language version of the How2charist. Tackett’s department took the project through post-production, including producing a Spanish-language version, and into distribution of the film and guide. (The full-length Spanish video, at which the Rev. Nancy Frausto presided at Church of the Epiphany in Los Angeles, is due out this spring.)

Tackett said he is excited about using the model of How2charist in future projects. “By partnering with creators throughout the church, we’re able to expand the pool of ideas and concepts beyond what those connected directly to our office can conceptualize,” he said. “And by working with creators who have a model for at least ‘seed’ fundraising, we can establish that there’s an audience and market for the product we’re helping bring to life.”

The hope, he said, is that both his office and Swanlund can now become “partners with and guides to other dreamers who are doing unique things in the world of digital ministry, and that we can bring those ideas to a churchwide audience.”

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

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Janani Luwum’s family and Idi Amin’s kinsmen reconcile on 42nd anniversary of martyrdom

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 4:40pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The family of Archbishop Janani Luwum, the former primate of what was then the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, have reconciled with kinsmen of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who ordered Luwum’s killing. Uganda’s Black Star News website reports that Canon Stephen Gelenga, from the same Kakwa tribe of Amin, delivered an emotional apology to Luwum’s family and the people of Acholi tribe during commemoration events over the past weekend.

Read the full article here.

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Archbishop of Canterbury calls an Anglican Primates’ Meeting in Jordan in January 2020

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 4:37pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to the leaders of the 40 autonomous churches in the Anglican Communion to invite them to attend a Primates’ Meeting in January 2020. Primates’ Meetings are one of four “Instruments of Communion” within the Anglican Communion. The last one took place in Canterbury in October 2017. The 2020 meeting will be in the Jordanian capital Amman from Jan. 13 to 17.

Read the full article here.

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‘Una Vida Transformada: El Camino del Amor para la Cuaresma’ disponible en español

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 4:24pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] El viaje de la Cuaresma hacia la Pascua es un viaje con Jesús. Somos bautizados en su vida, su auto entrega y muerte; luego nos elevamos en esperanza a la vida transformada. En esta Cuaresma, se invita a las comunidades de fe a caminar con Jesús en su Camino del Amor y en la experiencia de la vida transformada.

Los nuevos recursos del Camino del Amor para la Cuaresma ahora están disponibles en español:

          Foro para adultos: este conjunto de siete foros para adultos, adecuados para
diversos entornos, vincula las lecturas de la Vigilia Pascual con las siete prácticas
del Camino del Amor. Aprovechando la antigua práctica de dedicar la Cuaresma,
como un período de estudio y preparación para vivir como discípulo cristiano
(conocido como el catecumenado), los foros atraen a los participantes a reflexionar
sobre la historia de la salvación, caminar hacia la tumba vacía y abrazar la realidad
transformadora del amor, la vida y la liberación. Mientras estamos con las tres
mujeres en la tumba vacía, escuchamos su llamado a ir y vivir esa realidad
transformada. (Formato: descarga digital, disponible aquí.)

          Día de retiro: el programa para el día de retiro condensa los foros en un viaje de un
solo día. Se ofrece como una opción para iglesias y diócesis que buscan una
alternativa a la clase semanal. (Formato: descarga digital, disponible aquí.)

Los recursos adicionales de la estación, disponibles en español, incluyen:

Fondo Episcopal de Ayuda y Desarrollo, Meditaciones para la Cuaresma

Brújula de Vida: Viviendo bien a través de la Cuaresma

Calendario de la Ofrenda Unida de Acción de Gracias

Si su ministerio ha desarrollado material estacional del Camino del Amor, por favor, compártalo en wayoflove@episcopalchurch.org. Nos encantaría incluirlo en el sitio web y rezar por nuestro viaje compartido a una nueva vida.

Explore el camino. Comience con un grupo pequeño. Siga a Jesús. Permita que el amor de Dios le transforme a usted y a su ministerio. Encuentre materiales para cada estación litúrgica aquí:www.episcopalchurch.org/wayoflove.

The post ‘Una Vida Transformada: El Camino del Amor para la Cuaresma’ disponible en español appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Episcopal bishops to meet with lawmakers on background check bills as gun deaths mount

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 3:25pm

[Episcopal News Service] There are several reasons a group of Episcopal bishops is preparing to descend on the nation’s capital next week, but the motivation to travel is rooted in one democratic principle.

“In our legislative process, showing up really does matter,” Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, one of the co-conveners of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, said in an interview with Episcopal News Service about the bishops’ upcoming Capitol Hill visits.

During a month when the nation marked one year since the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and when five new victims were mourned after a mass shooting at a workplace in Aurora, Illinois, Douglas and his fellow bishops will gather Feb. 27 on Capitol Hill to represent a “culture of life in the face of a culture of death.” Eight bishops, working with the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, are scheduled to spend the day meeting with lawmakers and their staffs to advocate for legislation toughening regulations on background checks for gun purchasers.

Bishops United also will hold internal planning meetings while in Washington, D.C., as well as meetings with partners in the push to end gun violence, such as the Brady Campaign, the Newtown Foundation, Everytown for Gun Safety and Guns Down America. The week will culminate March 1 with a brief prayer service that will be streamed live on Facebook, part of Bishops United’s series of services held every Friday during Epiphany and hosted by bishops around the country.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence is a network of about 80 Episcopal bishops that formed in the wake of two mass shootings in 2012, at a Sikh temple just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Despite the national outcry over such violence, calls for gun safety reforms have gained little traction in Congress, even as the number of mass shootings continues to climb.

Douglas, though, remains hopeful.

“I’d like to believe the landscape is changing,” he said, pointing to the large freshman class of lawmakers after November’s midterm elections.

When meeting with some of those lawmakers, the bishops’ focus will be on passage of two companion pieces of legislation – the Bipartisan Background Checks Act in the House and the Background Check Expansion Act in the Senate – which aim to close loopholes in government oversight of gun purchases.

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations is arranging for the Capitol Hill visits of eight Episcopal bishops on Feb. 27. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Such measures are just a piece of the wider package of reforms that Bishops United and its partners are advocating, including toughening enforcement of existing gun laws, making gun trafficking a federal crime, promoting “smart gun” technology and spending more money on research into violence-prevention strategies. The bishops’ immediate focus will be on background checks, but their scope is broader, Douglas said.

“I’m taking the long view on this one,” he said. “This is not going to be a one-off. It’s about culture change and awareness.”

And the bishops, a mix of gun owners and others who have never fired a gun, stress that ending gun violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue. They are deliberate about highlighting the “common sense” behind the measures they are advocating.

“The goal in Bishops United was always to be about common-sense gun laws that could bring as many people to the table as possible,” said Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller, who also is a Bishops United convener. Miller won’t be joining the Capitol Hill visits but will be in Washington for the subsequent partner meetings and prayer service.

“All of us want sane and reasonable gun laws that protect both the rights of those who wish to own firearms and use them in appropriate ways but also to keep our country and our streets safer,” Miller said.

The Episcopal Church has spoken out forcefully on the issue through the years at General Convention, and in July, bishops and deputies passed a new resolution recognizing gun violence as a public health issue.

The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show gun deaths in the U.S. are on the rise, with the number of fatalities nearing 40,000 people in 2017. Of those, about 24,000 were suicides and about 15,000 homicides.

“We are in an epidemic,” Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton, representing Bishops United, said in July during a committee hearing on the General Convention resolution. “Think of the cost to our families, our communities, our health systems.”

The Office of Government Relations also has been active on the issue of gun violence, based on church policies set by General Convention. The office monitors legislation, coordinates with partner agencies and denominations, develops relationships with lawmakers and encourages Episcopalians’ activism through its Episcopal Public Policy Network. The bishops’ visits on Capitol Hill amplify that work.

“As bishops, what we bring uniquely to this conversation is the voice of a particular Christian denomination that has gone on the record by General Convention for gun safety,” Douglas said. “In addition to that, we are speaking out of our conviction as Christians in the Jesus Movement that the loving, liberating and life-giving reality of Jesus commands us to address matters that are death dealing.”

Advocacy is only one part of the mission of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. With mass shooting deaths still all too common, the network also is committed to providing spiritual and pastoral support to those affected by gun violence, Douglas said. Public liturgies are another major component of the bishops’ work.

Last year during General Convention, Bishop United gathered each day at the convention center in Austin, Texas, for five-minute liturgies that included prayers for victims of gun violence. Those services were streamed on Facebook and attracted a sizable viewership, as did a larger public liturgy in a park across from the conference center.

The positive response to those liturgies prompted the bishops to consider ways to continue that witness after General Convention. In November, Bishops United Against Violence released its “Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting.” The bishops’ discussions also led to the Friday prayer services this year, and some have drawn as many as 4,000 viewers, Douglas said.

“Where else in The Episcopal Church are you getting 4,000 people together to pray?” he said.

Last week, Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher hosted the prayer service, and Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee followed up the next day, Feb. 15, with a litany in memory of the Aurora shooting victims in his diocese. This week, on Feb. 22, the prayer service will be led by former Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith.

The prayer service next week during the bishops’ trip to Washington will be held at noon ET March 1 in the chapel of the building where the Office of Government Relations offices are located. It is expected to last about a half hour. Check Bishops United’s Facebook page that day for the video feed.

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

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