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Canada: Church leaders seek discipleship and renewal as 42nd General Synod opens

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 3:14pm

[Anglican Journal] In a changing world, Anglicans must rise to the challenge and once more become a “community of disciples,” National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said as the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada got underway.

That call for discipleship and renewal suffused MacDonald’s homily at the opening worship service of the weeklong meeting. The evening celebration of the Eucharist took place on Wednesday, July 10, at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, blocks away from the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre where the majority of synod would take place in the coming days.

Read the full article here.

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Episcopal pilgrims bring Spain’s Camino de Santiago to the Appalachian Trail

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 12:07pm

Pilgrims walk through a field on June 26, 2019, on Day 4 of the Appalachian Camino, a weeklong pilgrimage organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania on parts of the Appalachian Trail passing through the diocese. Photo: Emily McFarlan Miller/Religion News Service

[Religion News Service — On the Appalachian Trail, Pennsylvania] The pilgrims had come to a fork in the road.

They had just finished a hard uphill climb on the Appalachian Trail, and they weren’t sure they wanted to head 200 yards in the opposite direction to stop at the Darlington Shelter — even if it was named after the Episcopal bishop who contributed to the development of the trail.

But when they arrived, they found a bit of the “trail magic” that the Appalachian Trail is known for awaiting them.

Several of the support team members following their pilgrimage along the legendary 2,190-mile footpath had parked their van nearby and hiked a short way to the shelter carrying cold water and Gatorade.

“They were, like, magical. They just appeared,” said Debbie Pflager, 67, recounting the high point of the day’s hike during a time of reflection that evening.

The group was part of last month’s weeklong “Appalachian Camino,” inspired by the 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. Organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, it took the pilgrims along parts of the Appalachian Trail that pass through the diocese.

About 20 pilgrims, most from parishes within the diocese, hiked the full week, staying overnight in churches and parish halls along the way. Another 24 joined as day hikers throughout the week.

“We live in such a beautiful place here in Pennsylvania, and the Appalachian Trail is such a gorgeous walk,” Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlan said. “So this is an opportunity to come together in community, in nature and appreciate God’s creation.”

The idea for the Appalachian Camino came from the Rev. Dan Morrow, the diocese’s canon for congregational life and mission.

Morrow is no stranger to pilgrimages.

He has traveled to Ireland and to the home of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy, he said.

And he has always wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago, which ends at what many Catholics believe to be the resting place of St. James. The walk has exploded in popularity with American pilgrims in the past decade.

Morrow said he has never had the time to make the trek, but on a recent day hike on the Appalachian Trail with his wife, it occurred to him that the diocese could bring the Camino to Pennsylvania.

“We should do a pilgrimage here along the trail, visiting our sacred spaces with our own group of pilgrims,” he said.

It wouldn’t end at the final resting place of an apostle, he said, but “having done other pilgrimages … I just know that the journey is just every bit as important, as transformative, as the destination.”

When Morrow approached the bishop with the idea for an Appalachian Camino, she immediately said yes.

It fit perfectly with the “Bishop Out of the Box” program Scanlan started last fall. The program is meant to model “how we could engage ministry in different ways and kind of invite people to think creatively, obviously out of the box, to do things differently,” she said.

So far, that has taken the bishop to a county fair wearing a button reading “Need prayer?” and to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration with a color-by-number picture of King on canvas, among other things.

“This is our own opportunity to embody our faith, to say that we’re on a journey and literally, not just figuratively or metaphorically, but literally to journey with others on the way,” she said.

Building on the “way of love” espoused by the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, they referred to the pilgrimage as “walking the way of love in central Pennsylvania,” Scanlan said.

By June 25, the fourth day of the Appalachian Camino, some of the pilgrims and their support crew had earned “trail names” like “Go Go Gadget,” “Major Tom” and “Mama Bear.” The bishop was “Trinity on the Trail” and Morrow, “Venom Sucker,” which came with a story recounted with much laughter about how — since the hike had been his idea — he was responsible for rescuing anybody bitten by a snake along the way.

They gathered early in the morning for a brief liturgy, including a prayer of blessing for the pilgrims. Scanlan knelt at the feet of those joining them for the first time that day, making the sign of the cross over their boots, and they split into two groups — the faster hikers charging ahead first with the bishop.

Morrow set his timer for 10 minutes of contemplative silence as his group began the hike. Everybody was looking forward to the first five miles — relatively flat, according to their maps, after three days of hills and rocks.

In the silence, Lisa Work said, she noticed the temperature changes as they crossed an open meadow into the shade of the forest.

As the day went on and temperatures soared in the stretches through soybean fields or along the roadside with no protection from the blazing summer sun, Work took turns with fellow hikers pouring cool water from their water bottles onto each other’s heads in a kind of trail baptism.

The 52-year-old, who attends St. John Episcopal Church in York, Pennsylvania, also wants to walk the Camino de Santiago someday. For her, hiking is a form of worship, a necessary rhythm, she said.

“Some of it I don’t have words for, but the experience has been so real,” Work said. “In the Scripture, it talks about the Holy Spirit understanding the groaning of your gut, and I think that’s what this is. It’ll fall short to anybody I try to describe it to.”

It’s different hiking with a group when she’s used to silence and solitude on the trail, she said. But, as she begins a new job heading a school, it has been a reminder how much she needs other people and a chance to unplug and slow down for a week.

After climbing a ridge, pilgrims stop to rest and enjoy the view on June 26, 2019, Day 4 of the Appalachian Camino. Photo: Emily McFarlan Miller/Religion News Service

Work was surprised to have forged a “sisterhood” with several of the women on the trail, including Amanda Kniepkamp, who joined the Appalachian Camino from Philadelphia, where she attends Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.

For Kniepkamp, weekly church services weren’t cutting it anymore. The 40-year-old, who works in academic support at the University of Pennsylvania, said she wanted a deeper experience of her faith.

If there was any place she would find that, Kniepkamp thought, it would be in the outdoors. Having grown up in a small town, she gets “city rage” the way others get road rage, she said.

Remembering church camps she attended growing up, she prayed, “Please let it not be hokey.”

But that hasn’t been her experience on the Appalachian Camino.

She has been moved by the worship in the mornings and evenings. And the intensity of the shared experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail, the joys and the adventure, quickly brought the group together, she said.

“We’ve been together for three days, and we’re sharing everything about our journey,” Kniepkamp said.

That was a theme sounded by several on the Appalachian Camino.

Kay Cramer, 66, walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain several years ago when she retired from her career as a hospice nurse. When she heard about the diocese’s pilgrimage inspired by the Camino, she knew immediately she needed to join.

“Where I was trying to find myself on the Camino, on this one, I’m finding that it’s more about relationships with other people,” Cramer said. “I’m finding love instead of finding myself.”

Others had what could be considered less spiritual reasons for making the pilgrimage — for weight loss or for the challenge of it. Some were hiking along with their children.

But then, Morrow said, “I also think not everything has to have a deeper meaning. Hiking is a good in and of itself, just like other things are. You can make connections, and drawing connections is really good, but just doing it is a good in and of itself.”

At the end of the 12-mile hike on June 25, the pilgrims let out a “Thanks be to God!” as two white support vans came into view.

They piled into the vehicles for the half-hour drive to the Church of the Nativity in Newport, Pennsylvania, a picturesque little church along a river, where they plunged aching and blistered feet into the rushing water.

A trailer arrived carrying their backpacks and other supplies, and some of the pilgrims rolled out sleeping bags in the church’s parish hall. Others set up tents around the stone labyrinth in its neatly manicured lawn.

Then they gathered in the church basement for a homemade dinner prepared for them by parishioners. Cramer, who belongs to the Church of the Nativity, made a Santiago cake, an almond cake on pilgrims’ menus along the Spanish trail.

During a time of reflection afterward led by the bishop in the sanctuary, the pilgrims took turns sharing the highs and lows of the day’s hike.

There were discouraging moments on some of the tougher switchbacks and a fall that cut short the day’s hike for one pilgrim.

There was encouragement from fellow pilgrims and that trail magic at the Darlington Shelter.

And, all in all, Scanlan said, “It’s been a good day — a holy day.”

The post Episcopal pilgrims bring Spain’s Camino de Santiago to the Appalachian Trail appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

Emiten los obispos de las seis diócesis de Texas una declaración colaborativa lamentando las condiciones inhumanas en las fronteras de nuestro país. Llaman a los líderes nacionales y estatales a tomar acción.

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 12:07pm

[8 de julio 2019] Somos los obispos de las seis diócesis episcopales en Texas. Al menos 700 de las casi 2,000 millas de la frontera entre U.S. y México se encuentran en Texas.

Todo Texas siente el impacto de todo lo que sucede en nuestra frontera sur. Lo sentimos a través de nuestras familias, muchas de las cuales tienen raíces antiguas profundas en las tierras del sur de los Estados Unidos. Lo sentimos en nuestra economía, ya que México es el mayor socio comercial de Texas. Lo sentimos en nuestra cultura, ya que Texas era parte de México antes de ser parte de los Estados Unidos. Pero, sobre todo, lo sentimos en nuestras almas, porque estos son nuestros vecinos y los amamos.

Escribimos para denunciar las condiciones en los centros de detención ubicados en nuestra frontera porque somos cristianos y Jesús es inequívoco.

Debemos orar sin cesar por todos los involucrados; por los refugiados, los funcionarios electos y las fuerzas del orden, al mismo tiempo abogamos por el trato digno de los seres humanos que se abarrotan en nuestra frontera mientras huyen del terror y la violencia de sus países de origen.

Hacemos un llamado a nuestros líderes estatales y nacionales para que rechacen la formulación de políticas basadas en el miedo que se dirige a las personas que simplemente buscan seguridad y la oportunidad de vivir y trabajar en paz. La situación en la frontera es, a ciencia cierta, una crisis. Los refugiados vienen desesperados y el personal de la frontera está bajo mucho estrés.

Hacemos un llamado a nuestros líderes para que confíen en la bondad, generosidad y la fortaleza de nuestra nación. Dios nos ha bendecido abundantemente. Con ello viene la capacidad y la responsabilidad de bendecir a los demás.

Hacemos esto porque a los cristianos se nos ha llamado a amar a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos. Y la forma en la cual debemos tratar a nuestros vecinos, especialmente a los niños, está escrito claramente en el evangelio según San Mateo 18: 2-6:

“Llamó a un niño pequeño y lo colocó entre ellos. Y él dijo: “En verdad les digo que, a menos que cambien y se conviertan como un niño pequeño, nunca entrarán en el reino de los cielos. Por lo tanto, quien toma la posición humilde como la de un niño es el más grande en el reino de los cielos. Y el que reciba a uno de esos niños en mi nombre, a mí me recibe. ‘Si alguien hace que uno de estos pequeños, que creen en mí, tropiece, sería mejor para ellos tener una gran piedra de molino colgada alrededor de su cuello y ser ahogado en las profundidades del mar.’”

Debemos cuidar a los niños, protegerlos y mantenerlos seguros.

Pero ¿y si son extranjeros? El mensaje de Dios en las Escrituras hebreas, Levítico 19: 33-34, también

es muy claro: “Cuando un extranjero reside entre ustedes en su tierra, no lo maltraten. El extranjero que reside entre ustedes debe ser tratado como uno de ustedes. Ámalo como a ti mismo, porque eras extranjero en Egipto. Yo soy el Señor, tu Dios.

Y otra vez, en Mateo 25: 31-40. “Tenía hambre y me diste de comer, tuve sed y me diste de beber, fui forastero y me recibiste.” Y en Mateo 25:40: “De cierto os digo, como lo hiciste con uno de los más pequeños, me lo hiciste a mí.”

Esto no es una solicitud de fronteras abiertas. Esto no significa que la inmigración no sea un proceso complicado. Este es un llamado a establecer un sistema justo y humano para movilizar a los solicitantes de asilo y refugiados a través del sistema tal como lo exige la ley. La búsqueda de asilo no es ilegal. De hecho, las personas en nuestra frontera están siguiendo la ley cuando se presentan ante las autoridades fronterizas.

El asilo es una protección otorgada a ciudadanos extranjeros que ya se encuentran en los Estados Unidos o en la frontera y cumplen con la definición de derecho internacional de “refugiado”, esto es, “una persona que no puede o no quiere regresar a su país de origen por qué no puede obtener protección en ese país, debido a la persecución o al temor de ser perseguido en el futuro 'por motivos de raza, religión, nacionalidad, pertenencia a un grupo social particular u opinión política.’ ”.

El Congreso incorporó esta definición a la ley de inmigración de los U.S. En la Ley de Refugiados de 1980. La Ley de Refugiados estableció dos vías para obtener el estatus de refugiado; ya sea en el extranjero como refugiado reasentado o en los Estados Unidos como solicitante de asilo.

Como cristianos, buscamos seguir los imperativos bíblicos y morales de nuestro Señor. Además, Los Estados Unidos tiene obligaciones legales a través del derecho internacional, así como nuestra propia ley de inmigración de brindar protección a aquellos que califican como refugiados.

Y mientras que las autoridades fronterizas pueden detener a los solicitantes de asilo, los tribunales les han ordenado que lo hagan en “condiciones seguras e higiénicas.” Informes de noticias creíbles que documentan condiciones inseguras, especialmente para los niños, han dejado claro que esto no está ocurriendo de manera consistente y sostenida, debido a que los recursos y el personal se ven abrumados por la situación.

Esta nación tiene los recursos para tratar a estos refugiados humanamente. Hacemos un llamado a nuestros líderes para que tengan la voluntad de hacerlo rápidamente.

The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

The Rt. Rev. George Sumner

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer

The Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey

The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High Jr.

Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas

The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande

The Rt. Rev. Michael Buerkel Hunn

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle,

The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher

The Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

The Rt. Rev. David Reed

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson

Mayores informes al:

In the Diocese of Texas, Communication Director Tammy Lanier, tlanier@epicenter.org

In the Diocese of the Rio Grande, Canon to the Ordinary Raymond Raney, rraney@dioceserg.org

In the Diocese of Fort Worth, Communication Director Katie Sherrod, katie.sherrod@edfw.org

In the Diocese of Northwest Texas, Diocesan Administrator Elizabeth Thames, ethames@nwtdiocese.org

In the Diocese of West Texas, Director of Marketing and Communications Emily Kittrell, Emily.Kittrell@dwtx.org

In the Diocese of Dallas, Communication Director Kimberly Durnan, kdurnan@edod.org

The post Emiten los obispos de las seis diócesis de Texas una declaración colaborativa lamentando las condiciones inhumanas en las fronteras de nuestro país. Llaman a los líderes nacionales y estatales a tomar acción. appeared first on Episcopal News Service.

A primer to the Anglican Church of Canada’s 42nd General Synod

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 11:03am

[Anglican Journal] More than 350 Anglicans from across Canada—delegates, partners, invited guests, displayers, volunteers and observers—will gather July 10-16 in Vancouver for the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. While there, delegates will consider resolutions affecting the whole church.

General Synod is the highest governing body in the church. Although the Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, it has final authority over its own affairs. It can pass, alter and strike down its own laws—or, in church parlance, canons.

Read the full story here.

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