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Church of South India appeals for help in responding to devastating floods

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:59pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] At least 39 people are now known to have died as unprecedented torrential rains causes severe flooding in parts of Kerala, India. The six dioceses of the Church of South India are already active in relief work. The church is urging “all the Christian organizations in India [and] sister churches to express their solidarity and proactively engage in the relief work, which will be a great support they can extend to the Keralites in this time of calamity.” The Anglican Alliance, which helps to coordinate the work of Anglican relief agencies around the world, is planning a conference call to organize international support.

Read the full article here.

Northern Michigan provides emergency assistance in the wake of massive UP flooding

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 3:51pm

A massive June 16-17 rainfall caused flooding in three Upper Michigan counties. This photo shows the water level at Suzanne Brush’s home, which had to be condemned, just outside Lake Linden. Photo: Courtesy of Lois Siler

[Episcopal News Service] Lois Siler’s phone rang at 4:45 a.m. on June 17; it was her 29-year-old daughter Suzanne Brush calling to tell her she was homeless. She wasn’t homeless, exactly, but she, a friend and a dog were trapped in her home’s second level and water continued to rise.

Brush next called emergency responders, volunteers in this rural part of Michigan, and an hour and a half later called her mother to say that she, Katelyn Hough, and Polar, a white, husky mix, were safe and at the fire station.

“My daughter’s house is a total loss with the flooding,” said Siler, a Lake Linden resident and member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Houghton, in a telephone interview with Episcopal News Service.

Brush’s was one of eight homes destroyed by the massive flood that ripped through Houghton County; hitting Lake Linden, Hubble and Tamarack City particularly hard. Brush’s homeowner’s insurance policy didn’t include flood insurance, so even though the property was condemned, she’s still responsible for the mortgage and property taxes. Brush, Hough and Polar have been staying with a friend in Lake Linden, said Siler, while they look for permanent housing.

Following the June floods in the Western and Central Upper Peninsula, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared disasters in Houghton, Menominee and, later, Gogebic counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency early this month made available disaster assistance.

The rains began on Saturday night, June 16, and continued into Sunday, when more than seven inches fell in a matter of hours on the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northern most part of the state, home to just over 36,000 people, more than 20 percent of whom live in poverty.

“That set off this really strange flooding that happened all over the area,” said Rick Stanitis, campus missioner for Canterbury House at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. “Lake Superior is a huge watershed and you don’t [usually] have to wait long for it to drain.”

But the rains intensity was more than the watershed could readily absorb, made worse by rock and steep hills, and the flood destroyed streets and knocked out culverts, and left 500 basements filled with mud. Close to two months later, some residents still have mud in their basements, he said, in a telephone interview.

“There’s a lot of suffering going on and a lot of poor folk. A lot of people suffering without money who are not going to tell anyone they’re in need and they have a basement full of mud,” said Stanitis.

Three weeks after the first flood, heavy rains caused a second flood in Houghton County. It is

Stanitis’ job to keep the diocese informed of the work of the Long-Term Recovery Group Steering Committee, which is working on solutions to bring resources to the emerging needs. Following the June flood, the Diocese of Northern Michigan began collecting donations in support of flood relief and continues to do so.

“The flash flood in Houghton County on Father’s Day has left a path of destruction to infrastructure and homes in Houghton County, said Northern Michigan Bishop Rayford Ray, in an email to ENS. “Many of you have seen the photos and videos on news and social media sites showing the devastation to public infrastructure, but individuals in the community have also suffered many losses and set backs of all types. The community continues to assess the damage from the disaster, and relief efforts have been underway and continue to this very day.

“It is estimated that costs are over $50 million because of the flooding which does not include the emotional impact to those who were touched by this devastating flood.”

Siler’s yard was damaged, nothing serious. Brush, though, who lived just outside Lake Linden’s village limit in School Craft Township, near an old railroad bed that has since been filled in to accommodate snowmobiles and off-road vehicles, lost everything. That fill, along with water, ended on Brush’s property and, even though the century-old house still sits on its foundation, it’s beyond repair.

“This was a unique experience, the home she lived in was 100 years old and has managed to make it through serious weather … this was an extraordinary event,” said Siler. “The house is gone; the cars are gone. All is well with them, there’s been a little game of find Suzanne’s stuff, it’s strewn all over the place.”

To contribute to the diocese’s flood relief fund, make checks payable to The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan. In the memo line, please write Houghton County Flood Relief. The address is: The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan 131 East Ridge Street Marquette, MI 49855.

-Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

New Central America primate sets out mission and justice manifesto at installation service

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 3:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop Julio Murray urged his province to “embrace the project” of the Kingdom of God as he was installed at the sixth primate of the Anglican Church of Central America (IARCA) on Aug. 11. He was elected by the provincial synod in April. Hundreds of people included guests from around the world packed into St. Luke’s Cathedral in Panama City for a vibrant, colourful service which reflected elements from the five nations which make up the province – Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. One moment which drew gasps from the congregation was the gospel reading: it was preceded by the appearance of a group of dancers each wearing a hat topped with a flaming candle.

Read the entire article here.

A photo gallery is here.

Episcopales se empeñan a fondo en la movilización de votantes locales con vistas a las elecciones de noviembre

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:10am

[Episcopal News Service] Las elecciones de noviembre no tomarán a nadie por sorpresa en la iglesia de San Martín de los Campos [St. Martin-in-the-Fields] en Filadelfia, Pensilvania. Docenas de miembros de la iglesia participan en jornadas de capacitación electoral, y la meta de la congregación es que el 100 por ciento de los feligreses vaya a votar el día de las elecciones.

La participación cívica es también una primera prioridad en la iglesia episcopal de la Santa Cruz [Holy Cross] en Decatur, Georgia, un suburbio de Atlanta. La congregación está enviando a los feligreses a encuestar el barrio en torno a la iglesia en apoyo del empeño estatal de inscribir hasta 1,2 millones de nuevos votantes.

Y en Indiana, la Diócesis de Indianápolis ha auspiciado eventos de activismo electoral en los que voluntarios de la iglesia forman parte de una iniciativa interreligiosa que se propone llegar a más de 100.000 residentes de ese estado que no han votado antes.

“Con frecuencia hablamos de cómo la vida de Jesús nos orienta a ser políticamente activos… Debemos cuidar de los miembros más vulnerables de nuestra comunidad”, dijo la Rda. Carol Duncan, diácona que está coordinando la participación de San Martín de los Campos en las actividades relacionadas con las elecciones. Los episcopales como Duncan siempre han sido francos en su llamado a “votar lealmente” porque la Iglesia sola no puede cambiar sistemas injustos. “Ustedes no pueden hacerlo a menos que voten”.

La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal tiene su sede en Washington D.C., cerca del Capitolio, y brinda recursos para ayudar a los episcopales a movilizarse para las elecciones con iniciativas no partidarias. Foto de David Paulsen.

Aunque los episcopales pueden estar motivados por convicciones políticas personales, sus empeños electorales a partir de la Iglesia son necesariamente no partidarios. Estos empeños también se basan en políticas de la Iglesia establecidas por la Convención General, que acabó de aprobar el mes pasado resoluciones adicionales en que llaman a los episcopales a una mayor participación política. Esa participación cuenta con el continuo apoyo de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia en Washington, D.C.

“Votar y participar en nuestro gobierno es una manera de participar en nuestra vida en común, y esa es una obligación cristiana”, dijo el obispo primado Michael Curry en una declaración en vídeo antes de las elecciones de 2016. La Red Episcopal de Política Pública de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales volvió a citar el comentario de Curry esta semana en  un mensaje actualizado acerca de las próximas elecciones.

¿Cómo alguien “vota lealmente”¿ El mensaje emitido el 7 de agosto ofrece recursos, entre ellos enlaces a información sobre registro de votantes, normas de votación de los estados y colegios electorales. También tiene enlaces al “instrumental” del votante de la Iglesia Episcopal,  que brinda orientación adicional sobre la acción individual y cómo movilizar a comunidades guiadas por la fe.

“Alentamos a los episcopales a participar del proceso democrático este otoño mediante la promoción de la inscripción de votantes, estar al tanto de los candidatos que aparecen en la boleta de su zona, hacer un plan para que Ud. vaya a votar el Día de las Elecciones y el ayudar a otros a hacer lo mismo”, le dijo a Episcopal News Service Rebecca Linder Blachly, directora de la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales. “Nuestro instrumental para votar lealmente [Vote Faithfully Toolkit] proporciona materiales a parroquias y a individuos para involucrarse y participar en nuestro deber cívico”.

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La Rda. Fatima Yakuba-Madus, misionera para la participación comunitaria de la Diócesis de Indianápolis, vio el mensaje transmitido por correo electrónico esta semana y pensó que era un material perfecto para adaptarlo al próximo boletín diocesano. No todo el mundo en su diócesis tiene tiempo para participar de voluntario en la constante iniciativa de captar votantes.

Yakuba-Madus asumió el papel de misionera este año, luego de servir desde 2010 como diácona en la iglesia episcopal de San Juan  [St. John’s] en Speedway, Indiana. Mientras en San Juan ella participa regularmente en las campañas de barrio —tocando a las puertas, alentando a las personas a salir a votar y ayudándolas a inscribirse si aún no están inscritas—,ahora está activa en el colectivo de congregaciones conocidas como Fe en Indiana, empeñado en llegar a más de 100.000 votantes no inscritos y persuadirles de que acudan a las urnas el 6 de noviembre. Voluntarios de la iglesia han llamado a algunos de esos residentes durante las campañas telefónicas que la diócesis había llevado a cabo en la iglesia catedral de Cristo  [Christ Church Cathedral] en Indianápolis y en la iglesia episcopal de San Cristóbal [St. Christopher’s] en Carmel, al norte de la capital. Los voluntarios episcopales se centraron específicamente en llegar a los residentes de un distrito legislativo en el cual tradicionalmente ha habido muy pobre concurrencia a las urnas.

¿Por qué es ésa una función de la Iglesia? La acción cívica está directamente influida por la fe, arguyó Yakuba-Madus, basándose en los comentarios del Obispo Primado sobre el tema.

“Tenemos que participar en la votación”, apuntó. Las agencias del gobierno tienen una capacidad inigualada para cumplir la misión cristiana de servir a las personas que viven en los márgenes económicos de la sociedad, y “nadie va hacer eso si no votamos”.

La Convención General suele afirmar el compromiso de la Iglesia con la participación política.

“Nuestra iglesia tiene una política que nos insta a todos nosotros a abogar por el derecho al voto, incluso por la eliminación de barreras para votar”, dijo Blachly. “Los problemas de la inscripción de votantes se abordan en el ámbito estatal, de manera que les instamos a participar”.

Dos resoluciones aprobadas en Austin el mes pasado abordan los problemas del derecho a votar. La  ‘Resolución C047 compromete a la Iglesia a abogar en apoyo del principio de “una persona, un voto” —que los votos de todos los ciudadanos deben tener un impacto igual en los resultados electorales.

Aunque la resolución no entra en detalles, la explicación que la respalda apunta algunos ejemplos de áreas de interés: “Algunos impedimentos son tan viejos como nuestra nación y están integrados dentro de la Constitución de EE.UU., tales como el Colegio Electoral y la manera en que eligen a los senadores federales”, dice la explicación. “Otros impedimentos son más recientes o han llegado a ser cada vez más problemáticos a lo largo de las últimas décadas, tales como la manipulación de los límites de los distritos electorales, variaciones en el acceso a las boletas y la manera en que los votos se emiten y se cuentan a través del país, ciertos aspectos de la financiación de las campañas y la tecnología cada vez más sofisticada que se usa para llegar a votantes muy específicos”.

La Resolución D003 condena las medidas que den por resultado la supresión de votantes y apoya las iniciativas que aumentan la participación electoral, tales como “políticas que aumentan la votación anticipada, que extienden los períodos de inscripción, que garantizan un número adecuado de colegios electorales, que permiten el voto por correspondencia sin necesidad de presentar una excusa, y que prohíben las formas de identificación que restringen la participación del votante”.

La Resolución también critica la manipulación partidaria de las demarcaciones electorales e insta a la Conferencia Nacional de Legisladores Estatales a elaborar un proceso justo para el establecimiento de distintos legislativos y del Congreso.

La manipulación de estas demarcaciones consiste en la táctica de trazar distritos electorales que favorezcan a un partido en detrimento del otro en las elecciones, usualmente  reuniendo a votantes semejantes en unos pocos distritos o diluyéndoles a través de varios distritos donde seguirán estando en minoría. El Tribunal Supremo de EE.UU. decidió no pronunciarse sobre la constitucionalidad  de la manipulación partidaria de las demarcaciones electorales en un dictamen que emitió a principios de este año, dejando la puerta abierta a ulteriores demandas.

El debate sobre la manipulación de los distritos electorales es complicada, además, por la utilización de este procedimiento, conforme a la Ley de Derechos Electorales de 1965, y, a fin de garantizar una mayor representación de las minorías en el Congreso, se trazaron [demarcaciones distritales para crear lo que se conocen como distritos de “mayoría minoritaria”. Sin embargo, los críticos han argüido que esto ha tenido el efecto partidista a largo plazo de juntar a más votantes demócratas y ceder más distritos a los republicanos.

Luego, ¿por qué deben las iglesias y los cristianos intervenir?

“Para el seguidor de Jesús, la manipulación de las demarcaciones electorales socaba nuestro voto fundamental de respetar la dignidad de cada ser humano”, escribió en octubre de 2017 en un artículo el Rdo. Jarret Kerbel, rector de San Martín de los Campos en Filadelfia. “La participación en configurar nuestra vida común es un deber cristiano y algo que los cristianos consideran, respetan y protegen a todas las personas independientemente de su filiación, de su creencia o su no creencia”.

Pensilvania  estaba entonces lidiando con su propia controversia por la manipulación de las demarcaciones, y en enero, el Tribunal Supremo del estado dictaminó que las fronteras de los distritos del Congreso eran inconstitucionales. El tribunal presentó luego un mapa que establecía nuevas fronteras distritales que entrarán en vigor cuando comience el próximo período del Congreso en 2019.

La agrupación reformadora Fair Districts PA hizo una presentación en octubre de 2017 en la iglesia de San Martín de los Campos, en Pensilvania, acerca de la restructuración distrital. En el evento se mostró el mapa de Pensilvania en forma de un rompecabezas que los asistentes podían armar. Foto cortesía de San Martín de los Campos.

En el ínterin, San Martín de los Campos se ha centrado en la educación e inscripción de los votantes.

“Sabemos cuan importante es votar, particularmente este año”, dijo Duncan, diácona de San Martín. Su iglesia se ha asociado con un grupo llamado POWER, una coalición interreligiosa de más de 50 congregaciones centrada en la organización comunitaria de la zona suroriental y central de Pensilvania.

Los organizadores de POWER dirigieron un foro en San Martín de los Campos en julio, y alrededor de 40 feligreses asistieron para aprender más acerca de las iniciativas para la movilización de electores, explicó Duncan. Un entrenamiento está programado para el 26 de agosto para coincidir con el evento inaugural de una campaña para la educación de los votantes.

Otros ejemplos de la participación episcopal pueden encontrarse a través el país. La iglesia episcopal del Buen Samaritano  [Good Samaritan] en San Diego, California, auspiciará a la Liga de Electoras [League of Women Voters] el 29 de septiembre para una presentación acerca de las proposiciones estatales. La Fundación Episcopal de la Salud de la Diócesis de Texas se asoció en 2016 con Mi Familia Vota para inscribir a votantes hispanos, y empeños semejantes tienen lugar en el área metropolitana de Houston y en Atlanta para este ciclo electoral.

“Los votos de las personas son realmente importantes”, dijo Soyini Coke, miembro de la iglesia episcopal de la Santa Cruz [Holy Cross Episcopal Church] en Decatur, que coordina los esfuerzos de inscripción de votantes de la congregación en el área metropolitana de Atlanta.

Soyini Coke, a la derecha, preparó un taller de adiestramiento para la movilización de votantes en la iglesia episcopal de la Santa Cruz, en Decatur, Georgia, que tuvo lugar el 4 de agosto bajo la dirección de los organizadores del Proyecto Nueva Georgia, Carey C.J. Jenkins entre ellos. Foto de Dennis Patterson Jr.

Coke admitió que ella era una de esos ciudadanos que nunca votaba en las elecciones y que se había desinteresado del proceso político —hasta la elección presidencial de 2016. Ella se sintió decepcionada por los resultados, pero se comprometió a convertir su cólera en acción.

“No basta con quejarse”, dijo, de manera que ella y otros 20 feligreses se reunieron en la Santa Cruz el 4 de agosto para un [taller de] adiestramiento en la inscripción de votantes seguido por la [iniciativa] de ponerse en contacto directo con los votantes. Algunos se dividieron en equipos de a dos para llamar a las puertas, orientando a votantes no inscritos a través del proceso de inscripción. Otros se quedaron en la iglesia para llamar a votantes potenciales  de listas facilitadas por el Proyecto Nueva Georgia.

Durante varios años, el proyecto no partidario ha estado inscribiendo a georgianos para que voten con un objetivo de plena participación de todos los que tienen derecho al voto y pudo identificar a 400 residentes no inscritos en un radio de 3 kilómetros de la Santa Cruz, contó Coke. La campaña de inscripción del 4 de agosto generó 396 llamadas por teléfono, 97 contactos con votantes y siete nuevas inscripciones de votantes.

Eso es sólo el comienzo. La Santa Cruz espera organizar campañas semejantes en los meses previos a las elecciones de noviembre, dijo Coke. Esta es una iglesia de mayoría negra y tal activismo tiene profundas raíces en la tradición de la Iglesia negra, afirmó ella.

“Es muy natural allí” dijo. “Si vas a hablar de activismo en la comunidad negra, la iglesia es el centro de eso y siempre lo ha sido”.

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

Bishop Moses Nag Jun Yoo elected primate of the Anglican Church of Korea

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 11:30am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishop of Daejeon, Moses Nak Jun Yoo, has been elected as primate of the Anglican Church of Korea. He was elected at the Province’s General Assembly to succeed Bishop Onesimus Park, the bishop of Busan, whose term of office had come to an end. He will serve as primate for the next two years. The General Assembly also appointed a new general secretary, Peter Jun Gi Choi. In a message to the Anglican Communion Office, the province asked “for your continuing prayer for the new leadership and churches of the Anglican Church of Korea.”

Read the entire article here.

Diocese of Melbourne hits back at television coverage of safeguarding complaints

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 11:27am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and the independent body it established to investigate complaints against clergy have hit back at media reports concerning their handling of complaints against a former archbishop of Brisbane. Peter Hollingworth served as archbishop of Brisbane from 1989 until 2001, before becoming governor-general of Australia. He was forced to step down in 2003 after criticisms emerged of his handling, as archbishop, of allegations of abuse committed by clergy and teachers.

Read the entire article here.

Church in Wales highlights “poor upbringing” of Welsh children during Eisteddfod event

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 11:24am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Church volunteers are stepping in to provide food and support for struggling families as cuts to public spending impact on child poverty, the Church in Wales said this week during an event at The Eisteddfod, the annual cultural festival. The audience at the event heard stories of children struggling to keep up with school homework because their families couldn’t afford a computer or internet access, going hungry in holidays and parents not being able to afford school uniforms. The also heard that funding cuts were threatening Church-run family centres in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

Read the entire article here.

Charlottesville Episcopalians join peaceful gatherings marking year after hate groups’ violence

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 11:11am

The Charlottesville Clergy Collective holds an interfaith service Aug. 9, 2018, at The Haven as part of a week of faith-based activities to mark one year since hate groups’ demonstrations ended in violence in this Virginia city. Photo: Charlottesville Clergy Collective

[Episcopal News Service] The three Episcopal congregations in Charlottesville, Virginia, are participating in a weeklong series of ecumenical and interreligious events to promote peace, faith and unity one year after a white supremacist demonstration turned violent, thrusting the city into a national debate over race and Confederate symbols.

Prayer gatherings have been scheduled twice each weekday this week by the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, of which the Episcopal churches are a part. The collective also organized an evening worship service Aug. 9 described as “a service of gratitude, repentance and hope.” And an afternoon “singout” on Aug. 12 is expected to draw hundreds.

“There was a somewhat unspoken consensus that we wanted – we being Charlottesville – we wanted to be in charge of what this weekend looks like,” the Rev. Cass Bailey, vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church, told Episcopal News Service this week. “There just was a sense that we wanted to project a positive image.”

That positive image is intended as a contrast to the events of Aug. 12, 2017, when one counter-protester died amid clashes with a large assembly of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and other hate groups who had come to Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally in opposition to the city’s plans to remove two statues of Confederate generals.

A year later, the legal battle continues over the statues, which remain in place. The white supremacists appear to be focusing on a new rally in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary rather than returning to Charlottesville en masse, which has relieved some anxiety locally, Bailey said.

The Rev. Cass Bailey, shown speaking Aug. 9 at the interfaith service, is vicar of Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There just was a sense that we wanted to project a positive image,” he said earlier in the week. Photo: Charlottesville Clergy Collective

“Police are still gearing up for the worst-case scenario,” Bailey said. The city’s security measures this weekend will make it virtually impossible to hold worship services downtown, so Christ Episcopal Church decided to close for the weekend and will worship in the morning with Bailey’s congregation at Trinity and in the evening at St. Paul’s Memorial Church.

The Diocese of Virginia and its clergy and congregations, meanwhile, have expressed support for the churches in Charlottesville a year after many of them came to the city and joined with the faith community in standing against racism and hatred.

“I think that God has given an imperative to the church to hold firm in our resolve to stand in the public square in opposition to anything that is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that we must love one another — no exceptions,” Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston said in a written statement. “We will therefore always stand up to hate-mongering, and we will continue to do all in our power to ensure that the world around us knows without question that the love of God is present to us and will always prevail over division and hatred.”

The events last year in Charlottesville turned this Southern university town into a flashpoint in the larger debate over the Confederacy and the Civil War’s ugly but enduring legacy of racism. Episcopal institutions, too, were swept up in that debate.

Washington National Cathedral altered its stained-glass windows to remove Confederate symbols. Sewanee: University of the South moved a Confederate general’s monument from a prominent byway in Sewanee, Tennessee, to a campus cemetery. An Episcopal church in Lexington, Virginia, that had been known as the R. E. Lee Memorial Church in honor of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee changed its name to Grace Episcopal.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry stands at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Sept. 7, 2017, with the Rev. Paul Walker, rector of the nearby Christ Episcopal Church. The statue had been wrapped in plastic while the city fights a legal challenge to the monument’s removal. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

When Presiding Bishop Michael Curry traveled to Charlottesville for a pastoral visit, most of his itinerary was filled with clergy meetings and an evening sermon promoting love over hate, though he also took a few minutes to reflect at the foot of the downtown statue of Lee, which at the time was wrapped in a black tarp.

The tarp is gone, but the statue is still visible from the second-floor office window of the Rev. Paul Walker, rector of the historic Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Charlottesville. He returned just last week from a four-month sabbatical and was not involved in the decision by other church leaders to close this weekend, but he thinks it was the right call. Other downtown churches were making similar arrangements to worship elsewhere.

“The whole area will be on lockdown,” Walker said. “And there is a credible threat of violence downtown.”

Virginia’s governor also has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville because of the potential for renewed unrest.

“I’m very grateful that all hands are on deck for the weekend, because last year was horrible, deeply traumatic for our city,” Walker said.

Even a small group of white supremacists could set off a crisis, said the Rev. Will Peyton, rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, which overlooks the campus of the University of Virginia.

“I think there’s a strong sense, in terms of the city and state police … that law enforcement and government are going to be overprepared rather than underprepared,” Peyton said.

City officials were criticized last year for being unprepared for the “Unite the Right” rally, starting with the white supremacists’ Charlottesville Clergy Collective torchlight march in the evening of Aug. 11 at the University of Virginia rotunda while Episcopalians and other concerned citizens had gathered across the street at St. Paul’s for a prayer service. The next morning, members of St. Paul’s, Trinity Episcopal and Christ Episcopal joined an interfaith prayer service and then participated in their own march to Emancipation Park to rally against the supremacists’ event planned at the park, the site of the Lee statue.

Before the supremacists’ rally even started, the city deemed it an unlawful assembly and forbid it from proceeding as club-wielding and gun-toting white supremacists began clashing with counter-protesters, some of whom also carried weapons. The street clashes continued and even escalated, and the police force was later blamed for failing to keep the violence in check.

That afternoon, a crowd of counter-protesters was rammed by a car, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. A 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer from Ohio was charged with her murder.

Since then, Charlottesville has seen a dramatic turnover in its leadership.  The city attorney left, the city manager is leaving and Charlottesville has a new mayor, Nikuyah Walker, the first black woman to hold that office. And after the former police chief stepped down in the face of a report critical of his department’s response on Aug. 12, Charlottesville has a new police chief, RaShall Brackney.

That’s not to say that Charlottesville has solved all of its own problems, some of which stem from long-simmering racial divisions that were brought to the surface by last year’s violence.

“I would say that there’s still an extraordinary amount of tension and animosity in public life here,” Walker said. “I think that Charlottesville is really struggling to cope with what happened on Aug 12 and the history of racism here. And we’re a city steeped in history, and all of that is at the fore now.”

Peyton described the community as suffering from a sort of collective post-traumatic stress disorder, still shell-shocked from the events of a year ago, and on the anniversary, the national spotlight has returned along with memories of the horror of that day.

At the same time, “the local issues are the same as they are in many, many American cities, issues of housing and wages and entrenched structural racism,” he said. “We’re no different than a lot of other places in those regards.”

As for the legal battle over the statues – which, at least nominally, was the catalyst for last year’s violence – most accept that “to a certain extent it’s out of our hands,” Bailey said.

But the work of racial reconciliation continues. His church recently received a $11,000 grant from a local foundation to launch an African-American history project, featuring video interviews with older members of the community and workshops on the issue of historical trauma. The first event will be held this fall.

“In general, the community has acknowledged that there is a problem here in Charlottesville and the events of Aug. 12 were the erupting of underlying tensions,” Bailey said. “The work of the government and the work of the civic leader is to address those underlying tensions, and people have been trying in various ways to do that.”

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

Episcopalians dive into local voter mobilization efforts leading up to November elections

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 4:41pm

[Episcopal News Service] The election in November will catch no one by surprise at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dozens of church members are participating in voter education drives, and the congregation’s goal is 100 percent parishioner turnout on election day.

Civic engagement is running just as high at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb. The congregation is sending parishioners to canvas the neighborhood around the church in support of statewide efforts to register up to 1.2 million new voters.

And in Indiana, the Diocese of Indianapolis has hosted voter outreach events where church volunteers are part of an interfaith initiative seeking to reach more than 100,000 Indianans who haven’t voted before.

“We often talk about how Jesus’ life shows us to be politically active. … We need to care about the most vulnerable members of our community,” said the Rev. Carol Duncan, a deacon who is coordinating St. Martin-in-the-Fields’ participation in election-related efforts. Episcopalians like Duncan have been outspoken in their call to “vote faithfully” because the church alone cannot change unjust systems. “You can’t do that unless you vote.”

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations is based in Washington, D.C., near the Capitol and offers resources to help Episcopalians mobilize for elections in nonpartisan ways. Photo: David Paulsen

Although Episcopalians may be motivated by personal political beliefs, their church-based election efforts are necessarily nonpartisan. Those efforts also are grounded in church policies established by General Convention, which just last month passed additional resolutions calling Episcopalians to greater political engagement. That engagement has the continued support of the church’s Office of Government Relations in Washington, D.C.

“Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life, and that is a Christian obligation,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a video statement before the 2016 presidential election. The Office of Government Relations’ Episcopal Public Policy Network referenced Curry’s comments again this week in an updated message about the upcoming elections.

How does someone “vote faithfully”? The message issued Aug. 7 provides resources, including links to voter registration information, states’ voting policies and poling locations. It also links to the Episcopal Church’s voter “toolkit,” which provides further guidance on individual action and how to mobilize communities in ways guided by faith.

“We encourage Episcopalians to engage in the democratic process this fall by promoting voter registration, learning about candidates on the ballot in your area, making a plan for yourself to vote on Election Day, and helping others to do the same,” Office of Government Relations Director Rebecca Linder Blachly told Episcopal News Service. “Our Vote Faithfully Toolkit provides resources for parishes and individuals to get involved and to participate in our civic duty.”

We're aware folks want physical stickers of this graphic! Working on some troubleshooting with a recommended printer and will get back with folks for recommendations on ordering. #VoteFaithfully pic.twitter.com/sISJrbQUp7

— The EPPN (@TheEPPN) August 8, 2018

The Rev. Fatima Yakuba-Madus, missioner for community engagement for the Diocese of Indianapolis, saw the emailed message this week and thought it was perfect material to adapt for an upcoming diocesan newsletter. Not everyone in her diocese has time to volunteer with the ongoing voter engagement drives.

Yakuba-Madus took on the missioner role just this year, after serving since 2010 as a deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Speedway, Indiana. While at St. John’s, she regularly participated in neighborhood canvasing – knocking on doors, encouraging people to vote and helping them register if they weren’t yet registered.

She now is active in the collective of congregations known as Faith in Indiana, which is leading the effort to reach more than 100,000 unregistered voters and persuade them to go to the polls on Nov. 6. Church volunteers have called some of those residents during the phone banks that diocese has hosted at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis and St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church north of the capital in Carmel. The Episcopal volunteers are specifically focused on reaching residents in a legislative district with historically low voter turnout.

Why is that a church function? Civic action is rightly influenced by faith, Yakuba-Madus argued, taking her cue from the presiding bishop’s comments on the subject.

“We have to participate in voting,” she said. Government agencies have unparalleled capacity to fulfill the Christian mission of serving people living on the economic margins of society, and “nobody’s going to if we don’t vote.”

General Convention regularly affirms the church’s commitment to political engagement.

“Our church has policy that urges all of us to advocate for the right to vote, including eliminating barriers to voting,” Blachly said. “Voter registration issues are addressed at the state level, so we encourage you to get involved.”

Two resolutions approved in Austin last month address voting rights issues. Resolution C047 commits the church to advocating in support of the principle of “one person, one vote” – that all citizens’ votes should have equal impact on electoral outcomes.

Although the resolution doesn’t elaborate, its supporting explanation lists some examples of areas of concern: “Some impediments are as old as our nation and are embedded within the U.S. Constitution, such as the electoral college and the manner in which U.S. senators are elected,” the explanation says. “Other impediments are newer or have become increasingly problematic over recent decades, such as gerrymandering, variations in ballot access and in how votes are cast and counted across the country, certain aspects of campaign financing, and the increasingly sophisticated technology used in micro-targeting voters.”

Resolution D003 condemns measures that result in voter suppression and supports steps to increase voter participation, such as “policies that will increase early voting, extend registration periods, guarantee an adequate number of voting locations, allow absentee balloting without the necessity of having an excuse, and prohibit forms of identification that restrict voter participation.”

The resolution also singles out partisan gerrymandering for criticism and urges the National Conference of State Legislators to develop a fair process for establishing legislative and congressional districts.

Gerrymandering is the tactic of drawing districts that will favor one party over the other in elections, usually by packing similar voters into just a few districts or diluting them across several districts where they will remain in the minority. The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to rule on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in a decision issued earlier this year, leaving open the door to further legal challenges.

The debate over gerrymandering is complicated further by gerrymandering’s use, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to ensure greater minority representation in Congress by drawing district lines to create what are known as “majority-minority” districts. Critics have argued, however, that this has had the long-term partisan effect of pooling more Democratic voters together and ceding more districts to Republicans.

So why should churches and Christians get involved?

“For the follower of Jesus, gerrymandering undercuts our fundamental vow to respect the dignity of every human being,” the Rev. Jarrett Kerbel, rector of Philadelphia’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields, wrote in an October 2017 article. “Participation in shaping our common life is a Christian duty and something Christians regard, respect and protect for all people regardless of affiliation, belief or nonbelief.”

Pennsylvania was then grappling with its own gerrymandering controversy, and in January, the state Supreme Court ruled the congressional district boundaries were unconstitutional. The court followed up with a map establishing new district lines that will take effect when the next term of Congress begins in 2019.

The reform group Fair Districts PA held a presentation in October 2017 at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Pennsylvania about redistricting. The event featured the map of Pennsylvania in the form of a puzzle that attendees could piece together. Photo courtesy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields

St. Martin-in-the-Fields, meanwhile, has turned its focus to voter education and voter registration.

“We know how important voting is, particularly this year,” said Duncan, St. Martin’s deacon. Her church has partnered with a group called POWER, an interfaith coalition of more than 50 congregations focused on community organizing in southeastern and central Pennsylvania.

POWER organizers led a forum in July at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and about 40 parishioners attended to learn more about voter mobilization efforts, Duncan said. A training is scheduled Aug. 26 to coincide with the kickoff event for a voter education drive.

Other examples of Episcopal engagement can be found across the country. Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in San Diego, California, will host the League of Women Voters on Sept. 29 for a presentation about state propositions. The Diocese of Texas’ Episcopal Health Foundation partnered in 2016 with Mi Familia Vota to register Latino voters, and similar efforts in metropolitan  Houston and Atlanta are in the works for this election cycle.

“People’s votes really do matter,” said Soyini Coke, a member of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Decatur, who is coordinating the congregation’s voter registration efforts in the metro Atlanta area.

Soyini Coke, right, arranged for a voter mobilization training at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia, led Aug. 4 by the New Georgia Project organizers, including Carey C.J. Jenkins. Photo: Dennis Patterson Jr.

Coke admitted she was one of the citizens who never voted in elections and had been disinterested in the political process – until the November 2016 presidential election. She was disheartened by the outcome but committed herself to turning her anger into action.

“It is not sufficient to just complain,” she said, so she and about 20 parishioners met at Holy Cross on Aug. 4 for voter registration training followed by making direct contact with voters. Some broke into teams of two to knock on doors, guiding unregistered voters through the process of signing up. Others remained at the church to call potential voters on lists provided by the New Georgia Project.

The nonpartisan project has been registering Georgians to vote for several years with a goal of full participation of all eligible voters. It was able to identify 400 unregistered residents within a two-mile radius of Holy Cross, Coke said. The Aug. 4 registration drive generated 396 phone calls, 97 contacts with voters and seven new voter registrations.

That’s just the beginning. Holy Cross hopes to organize similar drives in the months leading up to the November election, Coke said. It is a majority black church, and such activism has deep roots in the black church tradition, she said.

“It’s very natural there,” she said. “If you’re going to talk about activism in the black community, the church is at the center of that and always has been.”

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

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby set to address UN Security Council

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 3:42pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop Justin Welby will become the first archbishop of Canterbury to address the U.N. Security Council when he takes part in an open debate later this month. The archbishop has been invited to brief an open debate on “mediation and its role in conflict prevention” by the U.K.’s Ambassador to the U.N., Karen Pierce. The event, on Aug. 29, is one two big “discretionary events” being organized by the U.K. during their rolling presidency of the U.N. in August.

Read the entire article here.

Christchurch Diocese in New Zealand to end residential elderly care provision

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 3:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglican Care, the social action agency of the New Zealand Diocese of Christchurch, is to close its two residential elderly care centres. The agency cited “exponential growth in the aged care sector” as one of the reasons behind its decision to gradually wind down operations at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald residential centres. Currently, both sites offer independent living and rest home care. Fitzgerald also offers hospital and dementia care.

Read the entire article here.

Jamaican government office apologizes to bishop over marriage form mixup

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 3:57pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Registrar General’s Department in Jamaica has apologized to Kingston Bishop Suffragan Robert Thompson after a bureaucratic mixup left him stripped of the right to conduct marriages. The mixup comes amid an ongoing controversy over a new registration system and annual fees for wedding celebrants.

Read the full article here.

Anglican cathedral damaged by World War II bomb to get repairs

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:17pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A bomb or shell dropped on Malta during World War II struck the tower of the Anglican cathedral and “in all likelihood affected the structural integrity of the tower and spire,” the Diocese in Europe said. Both will be “painstakingly repaired and restored” as part of major restoration project planned for the 175-year-old building, which is a dominant feature of the Valetta skyline.

Read the full article here.

Wales archbishop to highlight child poverty at cultural festival

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:09pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Wales John Davies will use an appearance at the National Eisteddfod, the annual Welsh cultural festival, on Aug. 8 to highlight increasing levels of child poverty in the country. The Church in Wales will lead the event alongside the Children’s Commissioner for Wales as part of a week of activities organized by Cytûn, the ecumenical group Churches Together in Wales, at the Eisteddfod.

Read the full article here.

Sydney archbishop launches emergency appeal following crippling drought

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 4:07pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Sydney’s development agency, Anglican Aid, has launched an emergency appeal to help communities hit by a crippling drought in Australia’s Western New South Wales. The state government says that 99 percent of New South Wales is now in drought and it has launched its own emergency aid package. The church’s aid efforts will provide resources to churches in north and western New South Wales, which are already dealing with requests for practical support for families impacted by what, in many places, is the worst drought since 1900.

Read the full article here.

Las nominaciones para los nombramientos a los Organismos Interinos vencen el 20 de agosto

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:42pm

[6 de agosto de 2018] El Reverendo Canónigo Michael Barlowe, secretario de la Convención General, invita a los episcopales de toda la Iglesia a solicitar su participación como miembros de los diferentes Organismos Interinos creados por la Convención General. Estos comités, comisiones y grupos de trabajo llevan a cabo la labor de la Iglesia Episcopal entre convenciones. La lista de los Organismos Interinos y el alcance de su labor está disponible aquí.

Prestar servicio en un Organismo Interino es una forma en la que los episcopales de toda la iglesia pueden participar en su gestión de gobierno. Mientras que los Comités Permanentes Conjuntos están destinados solamente a los obispos y diputados a la 79.ª Convención General, el resto de los Organismos Interinos están abiertos a todos los miembros de la Iglesia Episcopal. Los nombramientos a los Comités Permanentes son por lo general para seis años mientras que los nombramientos a los Comités Permanentes Conjuntos o grupos de trabajo son por lo general por tres años. Puede encontrar más información sobre la labor especifica de un Organismo Interino haciendo clic en su respectivo nombre.

Si desea más información o desea enviar su solicitud, puede seleccionar el formulario, ya sea eninglés o en español. Se pedirá a los solicitantes que señalen su interés por un máximo de tres Organismos Interinos.

La fecha límite para las nominaciones es el 20 de agosto de 2018. Los nombramientos estarán a cargo del Primado y la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y serán anunciados a fines de septiembre.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor contacte la Oficina de la Convención General agcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Asian ecumenical leader expresses ‘profound grief’ after 100 killed in Indonesia earthquakes

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:41pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia has expressed his “profound grief” and condolences following the deaths of more than 100 people in a series of earthquakes in Indonesia. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Lombok, a popular international tourist destination, on July 29. It resulted in the deaths of 16 people. On Aug. 5, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake 19 miles damaged thousands of houses and buildings and caused the deaths of at least 98 people. There have been at least 130 aftershocks.

Read the full article here.

Nominations for appointment to interim bodies due Aug. 20

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:40pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Michael Barlowe, secretary of General Convention, invites Episcopalians from across the church to apply for appointment to the various interim bodies created by General Convention. These committees, commissions, and task forces carry out the work of the Episcopal Church between conventions. A list of the interim bodies and the scope of their work is here.

Serving on an interim body is a way for Episcopalians across the church to participate in its governance. While the Joint Standing Committees are only open to bishops and deputies to the 79thGeneral Convention, all other interim bodies are open to all members of the Episcopal Church. Appointments to standing commissions are generally for six years while appointments to joint standing committees or task forces are generally for three years. Information regarding the work of a specific interim body may be found by clicking on its name.

For more information or to submit an application, please select either the English or Spanish language survey. Applicants will be asked to indicate their interest in up to three interim bodies.

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 20, 2018. Appointments will be made by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies and announced in late September.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the General Convention at gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org.

Zimbabwean churches issue plea for end to international isolation

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:37pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The ecumenical body representing the Christian churches in Zimbabwe has called for an end to sanctions and international isolation imposed on the country. In a “pastoral statement” issued on Aug. 3, after the announcement of the country’s presidential election results, the churches include a message to the international community in which they say punitive measures imposed on Zimbabwe will affect ordinary Zimbabweans rather than the country’s leaders.

Read the full article here.

Cristóbal León Lozano is elected bishop of Ecuador Litoral

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 2:36pm

Cristóbal León Lozano was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral on August 4, 2018. Photo Glenda McQueen

[Episcopal News Service] Cristobal Leon Lozano was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador Litoral on Aug. 4, 2018.

He will succeed to the Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante España, who has been the diocesan bishop for 23 years.

León was elected in the first ballot taken during the electoral assembly held at the Cathedral Church of Christ the King [Cristo Rey] in Guayaquil. The election was attended by the President of Province IX [of The Episcopal Church] and bishop of Ecuador Central, the Rt. Rev. Víctor Scantlebury; the Bishop of Puerto Rico and Vice President of Province IX, the Rt. Rev. Rafael Morales; the Rev. Glenda McQueen from the President Bishop’s staff, and two representatives of the companion Diocese of New Jersey.

The two others nominated are also archdeacons in the diocese:

The Rev. Canon. Gina Angulo  – archdeacon of Los Rios Area.

The Rev. Canon Jerónimo Álava – archdeacon of Santa Elena Area

León was ordained priest on March 22, 1998 and he is the archdeacon of Manabí. He is married to Chila and they have three children: Rocío, Jaime and Shirley. Bishop Morante reports that the consecration of the new bishop is scheduled by Jan. 12, 2019.

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