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2017 Advent Devotional from the Diocese of Virginia and Forma

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 3:24pm

[Episopal Diocese of Virginia] The Diocese of Virginia and Forma have partnered to offer a simple Advent devotional for households. There is a brief overview of the scriptural themes for each week, ideas to try in the home to deepen the experience of Advent, and some short prayers and rituals to make the Advent experience complete.

Download or print the 2017 Advent Devotional: 

Anglican Communion secretary general ‘excited’ by his new peace role in Nigeria

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:46pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has spoken of his excitement at being appointed to lead a peace commission in the northern Nigeria state of Kaduna. The state, where dowu-Fearon previously served as bishop, has been wracked by violence between rival groups for decades.

He insisted that he would be able to fulfil his new role alongside his responsibilities with the Anglican Communion. And he added that he had the backing of the archbishop of Canterbury and also his successor as bishop in Kaduna in his new position.

Read the full article here.

Mexican churches work with United Nations to implement Sustainable Development Goals

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches in Mexico have met members of the United Nations Development Program to discuss the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 goals were agreed by the UN in September 2015 and welcomed by church leaders around the world. They are a follow-on to the Millennium Development Goals which were introduced in 1999.  This week, members of La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico (IAM) – the Anglican Church of Mexico – together with Christians from other denominations and ecumenical groups, met to discuss their role in implementing the SDGs.

Read the full article here.

Advent on Instagram: see the Anglican world celebrate and join in!

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion News Service is launching a new feature on social media – and giving Anglicans around the world the chance to share their experience of Advent and Christmas.

The new Instagram feed will begin life on Sunday, Dec. 3. It will carry images and videos of how Anglicans are marking these seasons. ACNS is hopping to show how different traditions within the Communion celebrate – so why not take some photos or do some filming and send us the material?

The feed can be followed here @anglicannews. Readers can send photos and videos showing how theiur church, parish or diocese is celebrating Advent and Christmas.

Email news@aco.org with INSTAGRAM in the subject heading. In the New Year, ACNS will continue to use its Instagram account to mark other seasons and events in the Church calendar.

Not on Instagram?

Social media can feel a bit daunting. But Instagram is very straightforward. It is all about sharing images and videos via desktop, laptop or smartphone. Participants need to download the app for their cell phones, or visit instagram.com if they are using their desktop or laptop.

For more information, visit help.instagram.com.

Le Magazine Anglican : Lafayette nous voici !

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 7:07am

Pour écouter l’émission cliquer sur : http://frequenceprotestante.com/emission/magazine-anglican

116 500 américains ont été tués lors de la Première Guerre Mondiale. À la Cathédrale américaine de Paris, avenue George V,  a été inauguré dès 1923, un mur mémorial sur lequel sont apposées des plaques commémoratives.

Ces plaques portent les insignes des différentes unités militaires qui ont servi en Europe de 1917 à 1918 avec les pertes pour chaque unité. Mais on peut aussi y voir des plaques aux noms d’unités civiles volontaires dont certaines sont venues en aide à la France dès 1914.

C’est l’histoire de ces unités que relate dans le Magazine Anglican, Ellen Hampton, historienne et écrivaine, membre de la Cathédrale.

À l’appel des gouverneurs de l’hôpital américain de Paris (situé à Neuilly), un corps d’étudiants américains de l’École des Beaux-Arts a transformé un lycée en hôpital. À l’issue de cette transformation, réalisée en trois semaines, l’hôpital pouvait, dès septembre 1914, offrir 175 lits aux blessés de la bataille de la Marne.

En janvier 1915 est arrivée la première équipe médicale des États-Unis, en provenance de l’hôpital de Cleveland. Suivront d’autres équipes et d’éminents praticiens dont George Crile, Harvey Cushing et Mary Merritt Crawford, l’une des premières femmes chirurgiens de l’hôpital de Brooklyn.

Mais Neuilly était bien loin du front et ce fut le début de la grande aventure des ambulanciers américains sur le front. Avec quelques centaines de voitures, on estime qu’ils ont transporté plus de 400 000 blessés.

Les ambulanciers transportaient les blessés du front à un hôpital de campagne ou à un train sanitaire. Un travail très dangereux, au cours duquel au moins 155 ont perdu la vie sur les routes boueuses de l’Est de la France.

Nombre de ces ambulanciers s’engageront dans l’Escadrille Lafayette, un corps de pilotes volontaires qui ont appris à voler dans le Sud de la France. 67 d’entre eux, tués au combat, sont enterrés à Marnes-la-Coquette près de Paris.

Le nom de l’escadrille avait été choisi en hommage à Lafayette et à l’aide apportée par la France aux insurgés de la guerre d’indépendance américaine.

Au moment de l’arrivée du corps expéditionnaire américain en 1917, le général Pershing s’est rendu au cimetière de Picpus sur la tombe de Lafayette. L’histoire lui prête cette phrase historique : Lafayette, nous voici !

Pour écouter l’émission et les enregistrements d’époque des chansons populaires, choisies par Mark Caroll, paroissien de la Cathédrale américaine, cliquer sur : http://frequenceprotestante.com/emission/magazine-anglican

Le Magazine Anglican est diffusé, le 4e samedi du mois, à l’antenne parisienne de Fréquence Protestante. Via la radio numérique, chaque émission est accessible pendant six mois, aux auditeurs francophones d’Europe, d’Amérique, d’Afrique et d’Océanie.

Animé depuis 2012, par Laurence Moachon, paroissienne de la Cathédrale de la Sainte Trinité à Paris, le Magazine Anglican a pour objectif de mieux faire connaître la tradition anglicane / épiscopale

Archbishop of Canterbury intervenes in Anglo-American diplomatic Twitter row

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] In a rare political intervention, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has explicitly criticized the U.S. President Donald Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim videos posted by a British far-right extremist group. Welby said “it is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States has chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists.” The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also criticised the U.S. president, but was slapped down by Mr. Trump, who told her to “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism.”

Read the full article here.

First Persian woman to be ordained to the episcopate consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The first Persian woman to become a bishop was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury Nov. 30 during a service in Canterbury Cathedral. Guli Francis-Dehqani, the daughter of the former bishop of Iran, Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, will serve as the first suffragan bishop of Loughborough in the Church of England’s Diocese of Leicester. Her family were forced into exile after a botched assassination attempt on her father – who was also the first president bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Her mother was injured in that attack. Her brother, Bahram, stayed behind in Iran. He was murdered in 1980 and is commemorated in Canterbury Cathedral’s Chapel of Saints and Martyrs.

Read the full article here.

Lusophone Network works toward annual Anglican Communion-wide day of prayer

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:13pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Delegates at the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) Network meeting in Porto have set out plans to focus on four key areas as they seek to develop the group. And they want to create a Lusophone Network Day of Prayer across the Communion – on the last Sunday of the Church year, the Feast of Christ the King. The network is to concentrate on strengthening its work in theological education; development/care for creation; work with women and young people and communication.

Read the full article here.

Este artigo também está disponível em português.

Chicago’s St. James Episcopal Cathedral appoints Dent Davidson missioner for music and liturgy

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 3:25pm

[St. James Cathedral, Chicago] St. James Cathedral announced today the appointment of Dent Davidson as half-time missioner for music and liturgy, effective January 1, 2018. Davidson will serve St. James alongside his ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago as associate for liturgy and the arts. Davidson also serves as music chaplain to the Episcopal Church House of Bishops.

“The Cathedral Chapter is enormously excited at being able to call Dent Davidson to work with us as we expand our liturgical offerings,” said Dean Dominic Barrington. “I have been inspired by Dent’s vision for music and liturgy since I arrived in Chicago, and it is a source of joy for me that we will be able to bring his gifts to the cathedral community.”

Cathedral Director of Music Stephen Buzard concurred. “I am thrilled to welcome Dent Davidson to St. James’ music team. Our collaborations on diocesan liturgies have given me a glimpse of what we can achieve through an ongoing partnership. I look forward to our building upon the firm foundation of our musical heritage to reach a wider audience of potential seekers,” Buzard said.

Davidson said of the appointment: “Over the last decade my vocation has focused on developing the gift of song as a component of congregational vitality. It’s all about transforming lives and changing hearts. I’m delighted to join with Stephen and Dominic and the rest of the cathedral team, to enhance the scope of St. James’ ministry throughout the diocese and its outreach to the wider church.”

A professional church musician since his teens, Davidson’s prior responsibilities include leading music ministry at St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church, Chicago; St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Medina, Wash.; and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle. Davidson earned a degree in music composition and vocal jazz at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle.

St. James Cathedral is a vibrant and historic Episcopal church in the heart of Chicago. The congregation draws members from our downtown neighborhood, across the city, and from the Chicago suburbs. Our diversity also extends to our worship, which balances traditional liturgy with progressive, theologically grounded preaching which fully embraces all people into the body of Christ regardless of age, ethnicity, expression, orientation, or background. We seek to engage with our communities by listening to our neighbors, serving those in need, and asking challenging and culturally relevant questions about faith, identity, and experience. As the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, St. James is the site of diocesan-wide events and celebrations.

Anglican conference center opens in heart of Cairo

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 1:35pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A new conference center in Cairo has been opened by the Diocese of Egypt. The All Saints’ Garden Conference Center is in Zamalek – an island within the Nile River. Situated in the diocesan office complex, the conference centre’s 16 deluxe rooms can accommodate up to 44 guests; while the conference rooms can cater for up to 100 people. Additional guests can be accommodated in a separate guest house across the road.

Read the full article here.

Episcopalians help boost Affordable Care Act sign-up numbers in uphill battle under Trump

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:45pm

[Episcopal News Service] Reports of Obamacare’s death may have been greatly exaggerated.

Millions of Americans this month have signed up for health insurance on HealthCare.Gov, the website established by the Affordable Care Act, despite the Trump administration cutting spending on advertising and assistance, and declaring President Barack Obama’s signature law “dead” and “gone.”  The administration also cut the sign-up period in half, so with a window of only 45 days, Episcopalians have joined with activists and organizations around the country to get the word out.

So far, those efforts appear to have succeeded in a big way as the Dec. 15 deadline approaches.

Be on the lookout! Open Enrollment for 2018 coverage ends on December 15. https://t.co/rxEC3NkHV4 pic.twitter.com/ofEmHUfnhh

— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) November 27, 2017

“This has been fun. This has been an underdog story,” Ariel Miller, an Episcopalian from Cincinnati, Ohio, told Episcopal News Service. She has worked at the grassroots level to spread the word on social media and to invite local media coverage of the sign-up period. “We’re just trying to make people aware that all the resources are still there.”

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has encouraged dioceses and congregations to help promote the sign-up period however they can. Often that advocacy has simply meant distributing key information about the process. The Diocese of Southern Ohio invited Miller, the diocese’s former Episcopal Community Services executive director, to write an article for the diocesan digital newsletter.

On Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sylva, North Carolina will host Legal Aid of North Carolina, a group that is providing guidance to state residents looking to sign up for health insurance on the federal marketplace.

“I was happy to open up the church for something like this,” said the Rev. Pattie Curtis, rector at St. John’s. “I believe that people ought to have access to affordable health care.”

The Office of Government Relations, though not involved in the sign-up process, has links on its website to resources that can assist people looking to sign up for health insurance or those who want to help get the word out.

The office also has advocated in Washington, D.C., for policies that would fulfill multiple General Convention resolutions calling for universal health care or steps in that direction, most notably in a series of resolutions passed in 2009. One of those resolutions cited “the Gospel message of concern for others which extends to concern for their physical health as well as spiritual well-being.”

That message has inspired Miller’s work in Ohio.

“I think that Jesus spent a tremendous amount of time listening to and responding to people that were sick and helping them overcome their illness,” she said.

Sara Lilja, director of Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey, sees similar inspiration for her agency’s work in helping people enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“Jesus over and over again in the text promotes healing and intends for all of God’s children to be well both physically and spiritually,” Lilja said.

Her agency, a partnership of the state’s two Episcopal dioceses and the New Jersey synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has sought to connect more people with insurance coverage during the federal sign-up period by providing information directly to clergy serving groups more likely to struggle with obtaining coverage and navigating the process, such as seniors, the poor and immigrants.

The agency also emails a weekly newsletter to its subscribers that ties each Sunday’s liturgical readings to current events and policy matters. Health care has been a top focus since the federal enrollment began Nov. 1, especially with federal and state cuts to promotion and enrollment assistance.

“We’re trying to plug the holes with our community partners and trusted organizations around the state,” Lilja said. “It’s absolutely a spiritual issue, it’s a faith issue and it’s also a public policy issue. And at the end of the day, it’s an economic issue.”

The open enrollment deadline on HealthCare.Gov is Dec. 15. Photo illustration by Episcopal News Service

Nearly 800,000 people enrolled for health insurance coverage on HealthCare.gov in the week ending Nov. 18, pushing the cumulative total to almost 2.3 million, according to the most recent weekly update from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sign-ups in these early weeks of enrollment have outpaced the results seen in past years to this point. It remains to be seen if the shorter enrollment period will have a negative effect on the final total, and there are other threats to the federal marketplace sustainability, such as the loss of some insurance providers. But supporters of the Affordable Care Act say the strong sign-up response so far flies in the face of the dire assessments of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.

“It’s the biggest start to open enrollment ever,” Lori Lodes, a former Obama administration official, told the New York Times after the first week’s totals were released. Lodes is a founder of Get America Covered, a nonprofit that helps spread information on health insurance options. “It shows that people really want to get health insurance and value it.”

HealthCare.gov is the enrollment site for residents in the 39 states that opted out of setting up their own insurance marketplaces. Last year, 9.2 million people signed up through the federal marketplace during an enrollment period that lasted until the end of January.

This year, Florida had the most number of sign-ups as of Nov. 18 with nearly 500,000, followed by Texas with 272,000.

Texas is ranked last in the country in access to health care, Episcopal Health Foundation’s Brian Sasser said, so the sign-up numbers are cause for hope.

“That’s the easiest way now for folks to get health insurance, and we believe access to care is a key reason many people don’t get preventive care and care that they need,” said Sasser, communication director for the Houston-based foundation, which serves the Diocese of Texas. “If you give access to care, it makes a community healthier all around.”

This year, the foundation awarded $92,000 to a group called Young Invincibles to help promote the sign-up period to young adults in Texas.

The foundation also conducts research on the problem of the uninsured in Texas and the impact the Affordable Care Act has had on increasing the rate of coverage. Sasser said the goal of the research is to help improve health care access for all Texans: “What’s keeping people from having access to care, and what can we learn from what’s going right and what’s going wrong to increase that?”

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

Bishop of Belize: ‘Children are an important part of who we are’

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishop of Belize, Philip Wright, has spoken of the importance of children during an interview conducted by a student of Belize High School. The interview was conducted by 13-year-old Aajalee Turton as part of a project organized by the Special Envoy for Children and Women in Belize, for International Children’s Day last week. It was one of a number of interviews carried out by children  as part of the project.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop of Cape Town calls on churches to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:58pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has asked churches in his province to take part in next year’s “Thy Kingdom Come” global prayer initiative. “Thy Kingdom Come” began in 2016 as an invitation from the archbishops of Canterbury and York to the clergy in the Church of England to pray for mission and evangelism during the 10 days between Ascension Day and Pentecost. It was picked up by other Christian churches in England and around the world and is now an annual global prayer movement. This year, churches in 85 different countries took part. In 2018, the initiative will run May 10 to 20.

Read the entire article here.

Australian churches call for resettlement of Manus Island refugees

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:51pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Three ecumenical groups in Australia are urging the federal government to re-settle refugees formerly housed in the Manus Island refugee camp “safely, swiftly and with the greatest regard to family unity.” The Manus Island facility in Papua New Guinea was one of a number of off-shore detention centers used by the Australian government to process and keep refugees seeking asylum in Australia. The camp was finally closed last week as PNG authorities moved the remaining 328 men at the decommissioned center to new camps. Australia has faced repeated international criticism for the conditions in its off-shore detention centers.

Read the entire article here.

 

Episcopales ayudan a incrementar el número de inscritos en el Obamacare pese a las dificultades orquestadas por Trump

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:45pm

[Episcopal News Service] Los anuncios de la muerte del Obamacare pueden haber sido una exageración.

Millones de estadounidenses se han inscrito este mes en el seguro de salud en HealthCare.Gov, el sitio web establecido por la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible, pese a que el gobierno de Trump redujo los costos de publicidad y ayuda y declaró la ley emblemática del presidente Obama “muerta” y “desaparecida”.  La Administración también redujo el tiempo de inscripción a la mitad, de manera que en un período de sólo 45 días los episcopales se han unido con activistas y organizaciones de todo el país para correr la voz. Hasta ahora, esos empeños parecen haber tenido inmenso éxito en tanto se acerca la fecha límite del 15 de diciembre.

“Esto ha sido divertido. Ha sido la historia del subestimado”, le dijo Ariel Miller, episcopal de Cincinnati, Ohio, a Episcopal News Service. Ella ha trabajado a nivel de base para propagar la noticia en las redes sociales e invitar a los medios de prensa a que cubran el período de inscripción. “Estamos tratando de que la gente cobre conciencia de que todos los recursos siguen estando allí”.

La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales de la Iglesia Episcopal ha alentado a diócesis y congregaciones a ayudar a promover el período de inscripción siempre que puedan. Con frecuencia esa promoción ha significado simplemente la distribución de información clave acerca del proceso. La Diócesis de Ohio Sur invitó a Miller, ex directora ejecutiva de Servicios Episcopales Comunitarios, a escribir un artículo para el boletín digital diocesano.

El 2 de diciembre, de 8 A.M. a 4 P.M., la iglesia episcopal de San Juan [St. John’s Episcopal Church] en Sylva, Carolina del Norte, servirá de anfitrión a Ayuda Legal de Carolina del Norte [Legal Aid of North Carolina], una agrupación que ofrece orientación a los residentes del estado que andan buscando adquirir un seguro de salud en el mercado federal.

“Estaba contenta de abrir la iglesia para algo como esto”, dijo la Rda. Pattie Curtis, rectora de San Juan. “Creo que las personas deben tener acceso a una atención médica asequible”.

La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales, aunque no participa en el proceso de inscripción, tiene enlaces en su cibersitio con recursos que pueden ayudar a las personas que buscan inscribirse en un seguro de salud o los que quieren ayudar a correr la voz.

La oficina también ha abogado en Washington, D.C., a favor de políticas que cumplirían múltiples resoluciones de la Convención General que reclaman atención sanitaria universal o pasos en esa dirección, de manera más notable en una serie de resoluciones aprobadas en 2009. Una de las resoluciones citaba “el mensaje del Evangelio de preocupación por los demás que se extiende a interés por su salud física así como por su bienestar espiritual”.

Ese mensaje ha inspirado la obra de Miller en Ohio.

“Creo que Jesús dedicó una enorme cantidad de tiempo a escuchar y a responder a personas que estaban enfermas y a ayudarles a vencer su enfermedad”, dijo ella.

Sara Lilja, directora del Ministerio de Defensa Social Luterano Episcopal de New Jersey, ve semejante inspiración para su labor de la agencia en ayudar a las personas a tomar un seguro de salud conforme a la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible.

“Jesús una y otra vez en el texto [sagrado] promueve la salud y busca que todos los hijos de Dios estén bien tanto física como espiritualmente”, dijo Lilja.

Su agencia, una asociación de la dos diócesis episcopales del estado y del sínodo de Nueva Jersey de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en América, ha buscado  conectar a más personas con la cobertura del seguro durante el período federal de inscripción proporcionando información directamente a clérigos que atienden a grupos más propensos a tener dificultades en obtener cobertura o llevar a cabo el proceso por vía electrónica, tales como ancianos, pobres e inmigrantes.

La agencia también envía semanalmente un boletín digital a sus suscriptores que asocia las lecturas litúrgicas de cada domingo a los acontecimientos actuales y cuestiones de política. La atención sanitaria ha sido un tema importante desde que comenzó la inscripción federal el 1 de noviembre, especialmente teniendo en cuenta las reducciones federales y estatales a la promoción y la ayuda a la inscripción.

“Estamos intentando llenar los agujeros con nuestros asociados de la comunidad y organizaciones fiables en el estado”, dijo Lilja. “Es un asunto absolutamente espiritual, es un problema de fe y es también un problema de política pública. Y en definitiva, es un problema económico”.

La fecha límite de inscripción en HealthCare.Gov es el 15 de diciembre. Foto ilustración de ENS.

Cerca de 800.000 personas se inscribieron para obtener seguro de salud en HealthCare.gov en la semana que terminó el 18 de noviembre, aumentando el total acumulativo a casi 2,3 millones, según la actualización semanal más reciente de los Centros[federales] para los Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid.

Las inscripciones en estas primeras semanas han sobrepasado los resultados vistos en los últimos años hasta este punto. Queda por ver si el período de inscripción más corto tendrá un efecto negativo en el último total, y hay otras amenazas a la sostenibilidad del mercado federal, tal como la pérdida de algunos proveedores de salud. Pero los partidarios de la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible dicen que la masiva respuesta a la inscripción dista de los terribles pronósticos del presidente Donald Trump y de los republicanos en el Congreso.

“Es el mayor comienzo que jamás haya habido a una inscripción abierta”, dijo Lori Lodes, ex funcionaria del gobierno de Obama,  al New York Times luego de que se dieran a conocer los totales de la primera semana. Lodes es fundadora de Get America Covered, una institución sin fines de lucro que ayuda a propagar información sobre opciones de seguros de salud.

“Muestra que la gente quiere obtener un seguro de salud y que lo valora”.

HealthCare.gov es el sitio para inscribirse en los 39 estados que optaron por establecer su propio mercado de seguros. El año pasado, 9,2 millones se inscribieron a través del mercado federal durante un período de inscripción que duró hasta fines de enero.

Este año, Florida tenía el mayor número de inscripciones hasta el 18 de noviembre, con casi 500.000, seguido por Texas con 272.000.

Texas está clasificado como el último [estado] del país en el acceso a la atención sanitaria, dijo Brian Sasser de la Fundación Episcopal de la Salud, de manera que el número de los inscritos allí son motivo de esperanza.

“Esa es la manera más fácil que la gente tiene ahora de conseguir un seguro de salud, y creemos que el acceso a la atención médica es una razón fundamental por la que muchas personas no tienen atención médica preventiva ni el cuidado que necesitan”, dijo Sasser, director de comunicaciones de la fundación con sede en Houston, la cual sirve a la Diócesis de Texas. “Si das acceso a la atención sanitaria, eso hace a una comunidad más sana en general”.

Este año, la fundación otorgó $92.000 a un grupo llamado Jóvenes Invencibles para ayudar a promover el período de inscripción para jóvenes adultos en Texas.

La fundación también realiza investigaciones sobre el problema de las personas sin seguro [de salud] en Texas y del impacto que ha tenido la Ley de Atención Médica Asequible en el aumento de la tasa de cobertura. Sasser dijo que el objetivo de la investigación es ayudar a mejorar el acceso al cuidado de la salud para todos los texanos: “¿Qué se logra con evitar que las personas tengan acceso a la atención sanitaria y qué podemos aprender de lo que sale bien y de lo que sale mal al aumentarlo?”

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

Former Archbishop of Canterbury invites faith leaders to join 16-Days of Activism

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 2:41pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has urged faith leaders across the world to identify with the global campaign against gender-based violence. In a video message for Christian Aid, Britain’s ecumenical aid agency which he chairs, Rowan said that faith leaders can still play a crucial role in many of the contexts where gender-based violence is a challenge; and he urged them to “make a personal pledge to identify with” the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which began Nov. 25, International Women’s Day, and concludes on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop calls for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Zimbabwe

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 2:36pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has called for the new government in Zimbabwe to deal with past injustices. Speaking on the BBC’s “The Andrew Marr Show” Nov. 26, the second-most senior cleric in the Church of England suggested that the country should follow South Africa’s example and establish a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. Ten years ago, Sentamu cut up his clerical collar on the program, saying he would not wear one again until Robert Mugabe had left power. Yesterday, he put a new collar on for the first time in a decade.

Read the entire article here.

Church bells ring out in solidarity with Muslim victims of North Sinai mosque bomb

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 2:33pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Church bells rang out across Egypt on Nov. 25, as an act of solidarity with the Muslim community, following a terror attack on the al-Rawda mosque in Bir al-Abed, North Sinai. Bombs exploded at the mosque before gunmen entered and opened fire on those still standing. The death toll currently stands at 305. More than 100 people are being treated in hospital.

Read the entire article here.

Church without walls uses food truck to drive home Christian mission of feeding body, soul

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 1:39pm

Volunteers with St. Isidore’s Episcopal Church’s Abundant Harvest food truck distribute free meals in early September as part of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the Houston, Texas, area. Photo: Abundant Harvest

[Episcopal News Service] It is hard to differentiate the feeding ministry from the work of spiritual enrichment underway at St. Isidore’s Episcopal Church. That difficulty is by design.

St. Isidore’s is a church built without walls but with a set of wheels that allows it to bring faith and food to several small communities of worshipers north of Houston, Texas. Some meet at a Taco Bell or a Panera Bread, others at a laundromat. Central to the mission is the Abundant Harvest food truck, which serves as a focal point for developing Christian relationships while alleviating both physical and spiritual hunger.

“I think people need to be nourished body, mind and soul,” said the Rev. Sean Steele, who started St. Isidore’s in 2015 as a church plant through Trinity Episcopal Church in The Woodlands, Texas. It now supports eight distinct faith communities totaling about 80 people, as well as its Abundant Harvest ministries. “Feeding and eating is a huge part of everything we do.”

Episcopal News Service caught up with him by phone to conclude its “Food and Faith” series on the range of efforts within the Episcopal Church to fight hunger.

The Rev. Sean Steele leads a September gathering of the Warrior Church, a community of St. Isidore’s Episcopal Church that meets for fellowship, worship and exercise at a fitness club in the Houston area. Photo: Warrior Church, via Facebook

‘Food and Faith’

Episcopal News Service’s five-part series focuses on anti-hunger efforts in the Episcopal Church, from food pantries to the church’s advocacy on government programs that fight hunger. All stories in the series are available here.

St. Isidore’s growth over the past few months has been driven largely by the congregation’s relief efforts in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Steele estimates his parishioners and volunteers have served about 10,000 meals to people suddenly in need of food because they lost their homes in the late-August storm and subsequent flooding.

“It has shown us what we are capable of,” Steele said. And although the urgent need for hurricane relief has thankfully decreased, the feeding ministry has maintained its momentum. Donations have increased. Its volunteer list has more than tripled. St. Isidore’s likely will serve 750 meals or more each week through the end of the year.

Steele isn’t the only Episcopal priest enlisting a food truck to disseminate meals and a gospel message, nor is he alone in the church planting trend of holding spiritual gatherings outside of traditional church spaces. But his work is receiving national attention partly for his deliberate blend of outreach and Episcopal traditions, preferring not to minimize sacramental connections.

“There’s something to do with how we eat and who we eat with that says something about how we relate to God above,” Steele said, adding that references to food permeate the gospels.

He cited Matthew 25, in which Jesus said those who care for the needy will inherit the kingdom of the God. Jesus’ list of those in need is expansive – strangers, prisoners, the sick, the naked – and it starts with those who hunger and thirst: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,” he says.

The idea behind St. Isidore’s is to go beyond giving food to the hungry. Steele and other staff members and volunteers are deliberate about creating communion at the same time.

“It’s really our idea not to just pop in and get people fed and leave again,” said Molly Carr, the full-time food truck missioner at St. Isidore’s. “Ours is really about community, about building relationship around the table, and that is how we think Jesus built relationships. We’re kind of following that lead.”

St. Isidore’s food truck missioner Molly Carr shows off the Abundant Harvest truck, which is the focal point of many of the church’s ministries. Photo: Abundant Harvest

Part of her role resembles that of a food pantry coordinator, as she collects excess groceries donated by stores in the suburban Houston area to repackage for distribution through the food truck. That process becomes an opportunity to bring together another one of St. Isidore’s communities: The volunteers who gather twice a week to help sort the food while also enjoying fellowship, Christian renewal and the meals that they bring back to their families at home.

In this, as in each of St. Isidore’s communities, Steele said the goal is to create a sacred space that maintains sacramental Christianity without depending on a church building.

“I love churches,” Steele said. “I’m just not entirely sure we need to build many more of them.”

Searching for the church economy

Steele, born in Omaha, Nebraska, spent most of his childhood in California, where he described his spiritual upbringing as “culturally Irish Roman Catholic.” His family moved to Houston when he was 16. He didn’t initially hear a call to ordained ministry, going to college instead to study finance and accounting.

That training helped him land a job at Enron, at a time when the Houston-based energy company was one of the largest in the world – but also shortly before it would collapse into bankruptcy in 2001.

Suddenly out of a job, “I had a sort of moment of clarity where I realized that’s not the direction I wanted to take my life,” he said. Instead, he went back to school and got a master’s degree in Roman Catholic systematic theology.

A fellow student in his program was an Episcopalian and introduced Steele to the Episcopal Church. From that experience, Steele embarked in 2006 on a six-year journey to ordination, first as an Episcopal deacon in 2012 and as a priest in 2013 after graduating from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Trinity Episcopal in The Woodlands was his first church, where he served his curacy. In conversations with Trinity’s rector, the Rev. Gerald Sevick, Steele already had ideas for starting a church plant, and Steele said Sevick encouraged that thinking, as did Diocese of Texas Bishop Andy Doyle.

As Steele took on the role of associate rector at Trinity, Sevick gave him a few hours each week starting in early 2015 in which he was free to dream big, get creative, conduct research and search for the answer to what it means to be church in the 21st century.

By October 2015, he had a plan for St. Isidore’s as a church plant of Trinity Episcopal, with fundraising underway and an initial goal of purchasing a food truck. Named for the patron saint of peasant laborers, St. Isidore’s started with one community of eight adults and five children, including Steele’s own family, that met in a house.

Since then, it has grown to include groups that meet at restaurants, taverns, a boxing gym and spoken-word poetry events. Its monthly “laundry love” events at a local laundromat pay for hundreds of loads of laundry, but they don’t end there – Mass is held inside the laundromat in English and Spanish, and worshipers also are offered social service assistance, from flu shots to haircuts.

And, of course, food is served. The laundromat is one of the many regular stops on the Abundant Harvest truck’s monthly route, which includes meals at a low-income apartment complex.

“We are a church that believes, at the heart, we are called to feed people,” Steele said. “So, we create environments where communion is built around the table.”

Coffee, prayer and an abundant harvest

The community dinners offered at the apartment complex come with a prayer service. There’s always an extra seat at the table, Carr said, and volunteers are assigned specifically to engage the residents in conversations and make them feel welcome as they are eating their meals.

“These are our neighbors we’re eating with, and they’re eating with their neighbors,” Carr said. “And when you can have a conversation over a meal that’s healthy and tastes good, physiologically, that’s going to make you feel better.”

Steele talks of promoting a church economy that values things differently from American capitalist society. That church economy is on humble display every Monday and Thursday morning in the kitchen of Trinity Episcopal.

At 6:45 a.m., about a half dozen people gather to help unload food deliveries and sort through bruised apples, rotten bananas and cracked eggs to repackage unspoiled items suitable for the families that the Abundant Harvest food truck serves.

These volunteers also are some of the food truck’s clients, ranging from struggling college students to senior citizens to single parents, and they get to take a portion of the food home with them, a process of giving and receiving that sends ripples in all directions.

“It’s really a very mellow and positive environment,” said Dulce Cueva Salas, a 33-year-old native of Costa Rica who is part of the crew of volunteers that helps sort food on Mondays. Carr also hired Cueva Salas part time this fall to help with some of the meal distribution, especially in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

“The whole idea behind the food truck, behind Abundant Harvest, it just drives me,” Cueva Salas said. “It really calls me. I feel like I have a call.”

New volunteers come and go, making friends along the way as they work their morning shifts. Some volunteers have in the past invited others over for dinner, enjoying the food they have received together and further extending the fellowship.

The choice of the word “abundant” in the food truck ministry’s name was deliberate. God’s abundance is everywhere, Carr said, and not just in the food these families share. After bringing in the food, they pause each morning to have coffee and pray together. When the sorting begins, Carr puts on music in the background. Conversations bloom – not necessarily serious or profound, just people catching up on their lives, she said.

The work and cleanup are usually done by 8 a.m. (or by 7:30 a.m. for Carr’s more-experienced Thursday crew), and the volunteers say their goodbyes and go on their way with their bags of food.

“We’re trying to give people an amount of food that actually makes a difference,” Steele said.

The food Cueva Salas takes home after volunteering Mondays mornings – bread, milk, cheese, eggs, meat and plenty of fruits and vegetables – make a big difference for her family. Her husband is unemployed, and they have a 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter to feed.

“It has been a blessing for us,” she said, and the work has been a personal blessing for her. “I love cooking. I love prepping food and giving it to people. I think the best times is when you are around people eating.”

Not everyone who participates in one of St. Isidore’s communities comes to nurture their relationship with God, Steele said. When the food truck stops at the laundromat, some visitors pick up food and simply go home. That’s fine, too.

“The goal is to bring about the kingdom of God,” Steele said. “And then I think that, of course, at the end of the day, we are called to feed people that are hungry and give them food. People are thirsty, we want to give them drink.”

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

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