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Gunmen attack bishop of Makurdi in Nigeria’s Benue State

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:53am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop of Makurdi Nathan Inyom has been attacked by gunmen as he travelled along the Zaki-Biam Road at Kera, near Gondozua Village in Nigeria’s Benue State on May 6. The bishop’s car, a gold-coloured Lexus SUV, was stolen in the attack.

Read the full article here.

Bilingual Eucharist to be celebrated in Rio Grande River at one-day Texas border crossing party

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 5:29pm

The Rev. Paul Moore presides at Holy Eucharist in the middle of the Rio Grande River on May 11, 2017, in Lajitas, Texas, at the Voices From Both Sides event. Moore was joined by the Rev. Sarah Guck. Photo courtesy of Paul Moore

[Episcopal News Service] When the tiny border community of Lajitas, Texas, celebrates Holy Eucharist on May 12, the Rev. Paul Moore will consecrate the bread and wine standing in the middle of the Rio Grande, with water soaking the bottom of his vestments and without a clear sense of whether his feet are planted on the American side or the Mexican side.

This is the second year that Moore, an Episcopal priest from Silver City, New Mexico, will preside over a Eucharist in the river as part of the Voices From Both Sides celebration, an annual event the serves as a kind of community reunion for people from both sides of the border.

“For me, it was a statement that borders are political, not spiritual, realities,” Moore told Episcopal News Service. “That people in the church are joined and are one.”

The U.S. government previously declined to actively patrol the Lajitas Crossing, and Mexicans and Americans passed freely across the river to visit relatives, shop, attend school and work. That changed on Mother’s Day weekend in  2002, when U.S. authorities detained 20 people on immigration charges and made clear they were ending the open passage as part of an effort to secure the border after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Now, anyone entering the U.S. by crossing the river at Lajitas risks arrest.

Except on this one day.

Starting in 2013, the organizers of Voices From Both Sides arranged for federal and local authorities to bend the rules a little for a few hours, allowing for this border-straddling party, with music, food, drinks and religious worship.

“The organizations have kept us informed since the beginning, and basically no one is crossing the border, so no laws are being broken,” Bill Brooks, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman, told San Antonio Express-News in 2015 in a story about the third Voices From Both Sides.

The 2017 Voices From Both Sides is seen spread out on the U.S. and Mexican side of the border. Photo courtesy of Paul Moore

People from both sides meet in the middle of the river but end the day back on the side where they live.

“I hope it continues to keep on, because it’s just a day,” said Marcy Reed, an Episcopalian who lives about 15 minutes away in Terlingua, Texas.

She and her husband are teachers at the school in Terlingua, and some of their students have family members back in Mexico. Voices From Both Sides is a way for those relatives and friends to reconnect without having to drive hours out of their way, Reed said.

“I was really nervous last year with Trump in office,” Reed said. Would President Donald Trump’s tougher stance on immigration mean an end to Voices From Both Sides? “I really wasn’t sure it was going to happen. It still did.”

She wasn’t able to make it last year to participate in the service led by Moore, but she hopes to be there this time. Moore, rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, is fluent in Spanish and will preside over a bilingual Eucharist, with help from the Rev. Sarah Guck, assistant rector at Good Shepherd.

Last year, the Episcopal service was first on the day’s lineup at 10:30 a.m., which meant the sound system hadn’t been set up yet and only about 150 to 200 people had arrived for the day’s festivities. Even so, about 30 people from both sides of the river received communion.

This year, Moore is expecting an even bigger turnout for the Eucharist, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

“We’d love to have more people join us,” he said.

In addition to his parish duties, Moore is chair of Rio Grande Borderland Ministries. The Diocese of the Rio Grande is the largest among the contiguous 48 state and covers 800 miles of border in Texas and New Mexico. Moore’s church is about 90 miles away from Mexico, and he works with other churches along the border on a unified ministry that “focuses on the needs of the border in every way.”

The church is engaged on issues like poverty and hunger, Moore said, as well as immigration. He’s gearing up for an eight-hour drive to Lajitas on May 11, bringing with him on the long journey a Christian message that Jesus’ love transcends international borders.

“Christian beliefs have political implications,” he said. “And one of the political implications here is, you can divide us politically, but you cannot divide us spiritually.”

About 30 people received communion during the Eucharist at the 2017 Voices From Both Sides. Photo courtesy of Paul Moore

Residents of the Big Bend region of Texas, however, also are divided by and forced to overcome great geographic distances. Reed and her husband sometimes drive 80 miles to attend St. James Episcopal Church in Alpine, Texas, because services are sporadic at Santa Inez in Terlingua. Along the way, they take advantage of the better grocery options in Alpine.

They sometimes take trips into Mexico, such as when a student invites them to a quinceanera, or 15th birthday, in San Carlos. The community of Paso Lajitas on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande has all but dried up since the river crossing closed. Now, a trip that once took a few minutes by pickup truck across the river instead takes three or four hours by way of the official border crossing to the west in Presidio, Texas.

It’s hard for Reed to imagine a terrorist using Lajitas as an entry point into the U.S. “It would be such a crazy place to cross. There’s just nothing here,” she said.

At the same time, “I don’t think anyone’s coming over here stealing anyone’s job’s in Terlingua,” she said. There aren’t a lot of jobs to steal.

Before the federal government cracked down on river crossings, the flow of people in both directions knit together the communities on both sides of the river, Reed said. The impact didn’t seem to radiate any farther.

“To me, if it wasn’t broke don’t fix it,” she said. “Everything was fine the way it was.”

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

Leading anti-apartheid bishop has died at age 89

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 4:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The funeral of the former suffragan bishop of Johannesburg, Mfaniseni Sigisbert Ndwandwe, will take place May 11 at the diocesan center in Matlosane. Bishop Sigisbert endured severe oppression from the South African authorities because of his participation in the campaign against apartheid. He had been arrested, detained without trial, and his house was firebombed.

Read the full article here.

Global Christian Forum urges Christians to take up challenges of peace, unity, discipleship

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 4:29pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The third gathering of the Global Christian Forum has called on Christians around the world to take up together the challenges of peace, unity and costly discipleship. The Forum connects the broadest range of global Christianity. Its third global gathering took place last month in the Colombian capital Bogata. Some 251 church leaders from 55 nations took part in the event, representing almost all streams of global Christianity – including from the Anglican Communion.

“Against the backdrop of growing division in the world, the ‘meeting itself became a message’ of careful listening and respectful engagement across barriers of old enmities and historic separations,” the World Council of Churches said.

Read the full article here.

Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Western New York move toward collaboration

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:37am
[Episcopal Dioceses of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania] The Dioceses of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania have moved one step closer to approving an innovative arrangement under which they would share a bishop and staff for five years while exploring a long-term relationship.

The Standing Committees of both dioceses unanimously agreed May 7 to support a proposal under which Bishop Sean W. Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania would take on additional responsibility as bishop provisional of the Western New York upon the retirement of Bishop William Franklin of Western New York in April 2019.

The plan must now be approved by the annual conventions of both dioceses which will meet jointly in Niagara Falls in October. To complete the arrangement, the Diocese of Western New York would elect Rowe as their next bishop at that same gathering.

“We are excited by the opportunity to have Bishop Rowe succeed Bishop Franklin,” said Jim Isaac, president of the Standing Committee in Western New York. “But this partnership is about more than sharing a bishop. It’s about having the courage to experiment and adapt to new realities. Our two dioceses have complementary strengths and we face similar challenges. Together, we are well aligned to respond to what God is doing in our corner of the church.”

Jack Malovich, president of the Standing Committee in Northwestern Pennsylvania, said the partnership offers not only financial efficiencies, but opportunities for the two dioceses to work together on region-wide ministries. “The people of our dioceses share an industrial past, a respect for the beauty of the Lake Erie region and a history of resilience,” he said. “We are committed to being part of the Rust Belt resurrection that is already underway in Buffalo, Erie and elsewhere.”

Franklin, 71, who holds a doctorate in church history from Harvard University, has served Western New York as bishop for seven years. He was previously dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. The diocese, with headquarters in suburban Buffalo, comprises 57 parishes in western New York state between Pennsylvania and Canada.

Although he has been bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania for 11 years, Rowe, 43, remains the youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church. He holds a doctorate in organizational development from Gannon University. The diocese, with headquarters in Erie, comprises 33 congregations in the northwestern quarter of Pennsylvania.

De Cara a la Convención General 2018: Le invitamos a servir de voluntario en Austin

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 4:55pm

Todavía están disponibles una gama de oportunidades para servir de voluntario durante la 79.a Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal del jueves 5 de julio al viernes 13 de julio en el Austin Convention Center, en Austin, Texas (Diócesis de Texas).

La Convención General y la organización Mujeres de la Iglesia Episcopal (Episcopal Church Women), que se reúnen de manera concurrente, necesitan de los dones y la hospitalidad de los voluntarios para operar eficientemente.

“Los voluntarios de la Convención General sirven como una extensión de la Oficina de la Convención General y como tal acogen, asisten y sirven a la convención proveyendo apoyo activo y tras bastidores” comentó Lori Ionnitiu, Mánager de la Convención General. “Exhortamos e invitamos a participar a todos los que estén interesados y dispuestos a compartir su tiempo y talento con nosotros”.

Existe una variedad de oportunidades para todo tipo de talentos y habilidades para quienes quieren servir de voluntarios. Los horarios diarios disponibles van de un medio turno a varios turnos durante varios días.

Para inscribirse de voluntario y seleccionar los turnos que mejor se adapten a sus intereses y disponibilidad visite aquí.

Para más información contacte a Anthony Chapple a generalconvention2018@gmail.com.

Holy Hikes ministry seeks God in nature by celebrating Eucharist one footstep at a time

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 1:25pm

The Rev. Furman Buchanan celebrates Holy Eucharist on April 14 at Conestee Park in Greenville, South Carolina, during the inaugural hike of the Holy Hikes chapter based at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Photo: Holy Hikes Upper South Carolina, via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] The Blue Ridge Mountains have always been God’s country. Now they have a liturgy to match.

“I call it giving credit where credit is due,” said Laura Snow Hawkins, founder of the Holy Hikes chapter in Greenville, South Carolina. “The woods, the nature, the creation, that’s God’s. That’s God’s handiwork.”

Hawkins is a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which is sponsoring the Holy Hikes chapter, one of about a half dozen chapters (and counting) around the country modeled after the original Holy Hikes in Northern California. The Upper South Carolina Holy Hikes held its first official hike on April 14 at the Conestee Park in Greenville.

The concept is simple and could be described as Holy Eucharist in the wilderness. Most hikes are short, easy loops that people of all abilities can join, and the leader, typically a priest, presides over an Episcopal liturgy along the trail, complete with hymns, readings, prayer and communion spaced out along the hike route.

“It’s kind of a stational Eucharist,” said the Rev. Justin Cannon, Holy Hikes’ founder and the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in San Leandro, California. He received $5,000 this year through a Stewardship of Creation grant from the Episcopal Church to help expand the reach of the hiking ministry as it sets up new chapters like the one in Greenville.

“For me, the Earth is our home. We are connected to the wind, to the water, to the creatures, to the sun,” Cannon said. “Our life, and therefore our life in Christ, and everything we do spiritually and secularly has its roots in the Earth, so this is really for me about honoring that relationship, reconnecting with our home and rebuilding communion with the Earth.”

Hawkins has felt a love of the outdoors since childhood hikes with her family and their camping outings in western Pennsylvania. As an adult, she found natural beauty all around her in South Carolina’s mountain region, but Hawkins hadn’t thought of the liturgical potential of those surroundings until an August 2016 church hike in DuPont State Recreational Forest just across the border in North Carolina.

That hike was a one-time outing organized by the Rev. Dorian Del Priore, who was assistant rector of St. Peter’s at the time. He led the hike, celebrated Eucharist and spoke of care of creation. “It was just awesome,” Hawkins said, and responding to her interest, Del Priore told her about Cannon’s Holy Hikes ministry.

Holy Hikes, while inspiring similar ministries around the country, was itself inspired by an earlier ministry called Worship in the Wilderness that was led by the Rev. Jon Anderson in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While Cannon was attending seminary, he received a grant to spend summer 2008 exploring the connections between his faith and his love of the outdoors, and that exploration included experiencing Worship in the Wilderness first hand.

Anderson called it “liturgical hiking.” To bring church outside, he organized monthly gatherings to celebrate Holy Eucharist in natural settings in and around Santa Fe. The experience spoke deeply to the connection Cannon felt between the Earth and his Christian spirituality.

Worship in the Wilderness ended in November 2011 when Anderson left Santa Fe for a new call. By then, Cannon was already following in Anderson’s footsteps, launching Holy Hikes in 2010 as he began diocesan ministry.

The Rev. Justin Cannon presides at Holy Eucharist on one of the Holy Hikes outings of the original chapter in the San Francisco area. Photo: Holy Hikes

At each call, Cannon has asked his parish to sponsor Holy Hikes, and it now is a ministry of All Saints. Cannon tries to design the monthly hikes to be as accessible as possible, including for children and people with handicaps. Most are led by Cannon, though California Bishop Marc Andrus, wearing jeans and carrying a crozier, has been known to join the group and preside over the Holy Eucharist on some hikes.

And while the hikes average about a dozen participants, some have drawn as many as 40. At the beginning of each, the hikers are asked to say where they are from and what congregation, if any. Some have been invited by friends, adding a light evangelical element to the hikes.

“I think people are more prone to bring their friends on a Holy Hike than they are to a church,” Cannon said.

Worshipers walk the labyrinth at Lands End in San Francisco during a Holy Hike service. Photo: Holy Hikes

San Francisco’s Lands End in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a favorite destination among Holy Hikers because it is close to the ocean. The group hikes out a mile and a quarter to a stone labyrinth overlooking the waves and surf.

“It’s just breathtaking,” Cannon said.

One of the unique aspects of Holy Hikes is the sermon: Silence. Instead of a preacher addressing the congregation, the hikers are encouraged to wander quietly for 10 to 20 minutes so they can experience nature and let God speak to them through the trees, flowers, animals, rocks or waterfalls.

“I just tell people, here is the Earth, and God’s spirit is above and through all God’s creation. … May this be a time for the Earth to speak to you and minister to you,” Cannon said. After the group comes back together, everyone is encouraged to share some of their “silence sermons.”

“That’s my favorite part,” he said. “It’s always amazing to hear from people what their experience of that hike is.”

It’s an experience that can be felt anywhere, which is why Cannon has been helping other Episcopalians start their own monthly hiking groups in places like northern Wisconsin, central Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio, southern Indiana, Vermont and West Virginia.

Hawkins’ chapter in South Carolina is the newest. Its first Holy Hike last month was led by the Rev. Furman Buchanan and drew two dozen participants. The next is planned for May 19 at Paris Mountain State Park.

Hawkins was raised Methodist, and her husband was Baptist. Several years ago, they began looking for a new congregation to call their own and found a home in the Episcopal Church, partly because of its emphasis on preserving God’s creation, she said.

After working for a couple years in Key West, Florida, Hawkins settled with her husband in Greenville, and in February 2017 she retired from her customer service job at Southwest Airlines to spend more time pursuing her interest in the outdoors and outdoor education.

The time was right for her to start a local Holy Hikes chapter.

Cannon helped Hawkins step by step with details like picking liturgies, getting approval from the vestry and setting up a Facebook page for the chapter. “I couldn’t have done it without him,” she said.

Two dozen people joined the inaugural hike of Holy Hikes Upper South Carolina in Greenville. Photo: Holy Hikes Upper South Carolina, via Facebook.

Now that her chapter’s hikes have begun, Hawkins’ voice readily conveys her excitement about the ministry. Like Cannon, she appreciates how it combines her twin passions for faith and nature.

“When I’m outside I can truly see the majesty and the amazement of God out there the creation,” she said. In something as common as the variety and complexity of the wildflowers on the trail, “I see and feel the presence of God.”

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

Western Kansas elects local priest to be next bishop

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 12:43pm

The Rev. Mark Cowell

[Episcopal News Service] The Diocese of Western Kansas elected the Rev. Mark Cowell on May 5 to be its sixth bishop.

Cowell, a lawyer who once prosecuted gang members in Dodge City, Kansas, is the vicar of St. Mary and St. Martha of Bethany in Larned, Kansas, and Holy Nativity, Kinsley. He still works part time as Dodge City’s municipal prosecutor and was just elected to his second term as the Hodgeman County attorney, according to his biography here.

The other two nominees were the Rev. Mary J. Korte, rector of St. Stephen’s, Wichita, and the Rev. Jonathan Singh, clinical manager of St. Leonard’s Hospice in York, England. The electing convention was held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Hays.

Cowell’s wife, Julie, is a district magistrate judge, and they are parents to three children: Gabriel, Cathleen and Gryffin. The Cowell family has lived in Larned since 1996 after they moved out of Dodge City because gang members there shot out his car windows.

Cowell says in his biographical statement that he felt a call to ordained ministry after he finished law school in 1994. Because of his debt from that schooling, he was trained locally and, after several years of study, was ordained as a transitional deacon in October 2003 and as a priest in June 2004.

While helping oversee the process that resulted in the election of current Bishop Michael P. Milliken, Cowell met with then-Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to discuss the idea of a dual-role episcopacy in which a person serves as both bishop and a congregational priest. Milliken lived that model, the first in the Episcopal Church in the past 150 years, until the end of 2014 when he resigned as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Hutchinson to served full time as bishop, according to the diocese.

Cowell has said he would continue serving both parishes if he was elected bishop.

After the bishop-elect receives the canonically required consent of a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will ordain and consecrate the new bishop Dec. 1.

RIP: Congregational studies pioneer Loren Mead

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 11:11am

Loren Benjamin Mead, son of Dr. Walter Russell Mead and Dorothy Nauss Mead, died peacefully under hospice care at his home, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church, Virginia, on May 5. Mead was born in Florence, South Carolina, on Feb. 17, 1930.

An Episcopal priest, Mead was an educator, consultant, and author who worked to strengthen religious institutions, especially local congregations. He collaborated with lay people, clergy, executives and bishops, teachers and others committed to ministry. A pioneer in congregational studies, Mead brought together the methods of organization development consultation and applied research for working with congregations.

As an author, he published four best-selling books on the future of the church: “The Once and Future Church” (1991), “Transforming Congregations for the Future” (1994), “Five Challenges for the Once and Future Church” (1996) and “Financial Meltdown in the Mainline?” (1998). In addition to a number of articles and chapters in edited works, he is also the author of “New Hope for Congregations” (1972), “Critical Moment of Ministry: The Change of Pastors” (1987), “The Whole Truth” (1987), and “More than Numbers” (1994). His most recent book, “The Parish is the Issue, refocused on his work with congregations as the future direction.

Mead delivered the DuBose Lectures at St. Luke’s School of Theology at the University of the South in 1980, the Cheyney Lectures at Yale Divinity School in 1986 and the Douglass Lecture to the 50th joint meeting of the Religious Research Association and the Society for the Scientific Study in 1999.

In his work with churches, Mead developed a number of resources still widely used: The role and work of the interim pastor, the use of conflict management, the work on clergy stress and burnout, concepts of change and development in congregations and their judicatory systems, training methods for executives and bishops. He has been concerned for the personal, professional and spiritual development of lay and clergy leaders, and especially for the creative possibilities for churches and leaders at moments of transition in role. Mead worked with local, regional and national groups, with seminaries and church agencies in several dozen denominations in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia and South Africa.

Mead’s work with the Alban Institute was informed by his career in the parish ministry. From 1955 through 1957 he was the rector of Trinity Church in Pinopolis, South Carolina. In 1957 he accepted a call to the Church of the Holy Family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 1963-64 he served as the visiting rector of Esher in the United Kingdom, returning to Holy Family until then-Presiding Bishop John Hines asked him to direct the experimental “Project Test Pattern” for a three-year period. In 1974, Mead founded the Alban Institute, developing its national, multidenominational network of research, publishing, education and consulting. When he stepped down from its presidency in 1994, the institute had 8,500 members and was widely recognized as a leading force in the life of the contemporary church. He continued to consult, write and teach until the last years of his life.

Mead received a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned a master’s degreee from the University of South Carolina.  After teaching in the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School for Adults for two years, Loren attended Virginia Theological Seminary and received his Master of Divinity degree in 1955. He did additional graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (city and regional planning) and the University of Maine (behavioral sciences). In 1967, he served as fellow of the College of Preachers.

Mead later received honorary degrees from the University of the South, Virginia Theological Seminary, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and the Episcopal Divinity School. In 1999, he was named the fifth recipient of the Henry Knox Sherrill Medal by the Episcopal Church Foundation.

His work lives on in the church. Alban at Duke Divinity, the successor to the Alban Institute, continues his agenda of research and consulting, with more than 45,000 people receiving its weekly newsletter. Institutions like the interim pastorate and the Consortium of Endowed Parishes continue to express the concern for the life of local religious communities that was the heart of his professional vocation.

Born and raised in the segregated South, Mead worked for racial justice and reconciliation throughout his career. Besides marching with a delegation of white pastors in support of Martin Luther King after the death of Medgar Evers, he played a leading role in the desegregation of Chapel Hill. At the end of his life, he was working on the manuscript of a book about an ex-Confederate Civil War chaplain who left the Episcopal Church to minister to African-American congregations in post-Reconstruction South Carolina.

Mead was married to the former Polly Ayers Mellette until her death in 2013. They are survived by four children, Walter Russell Mead of Washington, D.C.; Christopher Allen Mead (Laura) of Oakton, Virginia; Barbara Mead Wise (James) of Durham, North Carolina, and Philip Sidney Mead (Carolyn) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They have seven grandchildren: Elizabeth Courtney Duncan (Jonathan), James Benjamin Stallworth Wise (Christine Malumphy), Loren Benjamin Mead II, Nicholas Alexander Mead, Katherine Anne Mead, Grace Elizabeth Mead and John Douglass Mead. They have 4 great grandchildren, James Bennett Duncan, Jonathan Alexander Duncan, Lucy Claire Duncan and Mary Hannah Duncan.

Loren’s life will be celebrated at his parish home, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., on May 21, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent either to St. Alban’s Church or to Alban at Duke Divinity School, 1121 W. Chapel Street, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701.

Michael Buerkel Hunn elected next bishop of Diocese of the Rio Grande

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:24am

The Rev. Michael Buerkel Hunn

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rev. Michael Buerkel Hunn, canon to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for ministry within the Episcopal Church, was elected May 5 to become the next bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The slate of three candidates included Hunn, the Rev. Lucinda Ashby, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Idaho, and the Rev. Simon Charles Justice, rector of Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis, Oregon

Hunn was elected on the third ballot. The diocesan constitution and canons require a majority, determined by the total number of those eligible to vote, in the lay and clergy orders on the same ballot.

Of the total (103) eligible canonically resident clergy, 52 represented a quorum and were required for an election. Of the total (204) eligible lay delegates, 103 represented a quorum and were required for an election.

Hunn received 55 clergy votes and 141 lay votes.

After the bishop-elect receives the canonically required consent of a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, Curry will ordain and consecrate the new bishop Nov. 3 in Albuquerque.

In accepting the election, Hunn expressed his thanks to Bishop Michael L. Vono, the current bishop, for his leadership of the diocese. “I feel a great sense of humility to be following you as God’s servant in the Diocese of the Rio Grande,” he said. “I know you love your people and I want you to know I will love them faithfully and care for them with every capacity God gives me. I am also grateful to begin this ministry at this moment – when you have done so much to heal, reconcile and build trust over the course of your episcopate.”

Hunn also told the members of the diocese that he feels “such love and gratitude as we look forward to our future together. I am giving thanks for so much we cannot yet see – the relationships we will build and the ministry we will share – the joy, tears, and opportunities. I am also feeling at least some nervous expectation.”

He said that he and his wife, the Rev. Meg Buerkel Hunn, assistant rector at Christ Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, “are eager to begin making a home among you in a few short months.” The Buerkel Hunns have three children, Dexter, Murphy, and Dosie.

The bishop-elect grew up in New Mexico and Texas. In 20 years of ordained ministry he has served as a parish priest, a school chaplain, college chaplain and canon to Curry when the latter was bishop of the Diocese North Carolina. In his current job, he supports the presiding bishop’s ministry, serves as director of communications and oversees other key departments. He led the transition team as Curry became presiding bishop and led a staff-wide restructure and culture-transformation process, according to his biography on the Rio Grande website.

While he was a canon to the ordinary in North Carolina he designed and led diocesan systems in the areas of congregational support and development, youth ministry, pastoral response, transition ministry, clergy discipline, misconduct prevention training, priestly ordination process and conflict transformation.

Hunn is also a lecturer, keynote speaker and preacher, speaking on subjects such as public speaking, nonviolent communication, canon law, stewardship and nonviolent approaches to conversations about race.

Ordained in 1996, Hunn first served The Kent School in Connecticut as chaplain, head baseball coach and chair of the theology department. He went on to serve as senior associate rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois, and as Episcopal chaplain to Davidson College and associate rector of St. Alban’s, Davidson, North Carolina.

He holds degrees from Middlebury College (Bachelor of Arts in history and religion) and Cambridge University (Master of Arts in theology) and a Certificate of Advanced Theological Study from Seabury Western Theological Seminary.

Churches throughout Asia focus on people with disabilities for Asia Sunday

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:06pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches and Christians throughout Asia will observe Asia Sunday the week of May 13, with a focus on prayer. Asia Sunday is an initiative of the Christian Conference of Asia, which includes all the Anglican provinces in the region as well as the Anglican Church of Australia and the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia — plus many other Christian denominations and ecumenical partners. This year’s theme is “Embracing the Differently Abled and Upholding Their Dignity.”

Read the entire article here.

House of Bishops invites reflections on #MeToo and the Episcopal Church

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:03pm

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Bishops is inviting Episcopalians to “share reflections on sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation” ahead of a planned General Convention listening session titled “Pastoral Response to #MeToo.”

A selection of the reflections, with no names attached, will be read as part of the liturgy included in the sessions, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real, vice-president of the House of Bishops, said in a May 4 letter to the Episcopal Church.

The #MeToo movement has meant that “the curtain of silence has been drawn back to reveal the pervasive misuse of power, cutting across all races, socio-economic strata, ages and locations, including our own context,” they wrote. “In the Episcopal Church, our practices have not always reflected the values we say we hold. We do not always practice the reconciliation we proclaim.”

The House of Bishop’s Pastoral Response “will focus on listening, liturgy and steps for healing,” according to the press release issued with the letter. It will take place Wednesday, July 4, 5:15 to 7 p.m. CDT. Those not attending the General Convention in Austin, Texas, will be able to participate remotely via a live webcast.

Reflections may be submitted confidentially “by anyone in our church for sharing anonymously in this liturgical setting of repentance, prayer and worship, pledging a way forward for healing, reconciliation and transformation of ourselves and our church,” the bishops said. A member of the reading team will contact people when their reflections has been read and reviewed.

Confidential reflections can be sent to pastoralresponse@episcopalchurch.org or House of Bishops’ Pastoral Response, 815 Second Ave., New York NY 10017.

“We imagine a variety of responses: reflections that speak to the culture of harassment, abuse and exploitation, including insensitive comments, micro-aggressions and other insensitivities,” Curry and Gray-Reeves wrote.

Their letter notes that the session is a “liturgical and pastoral offering,” not a clergy discipline, or Title IV, hearing. “During the balance of General Convention, there will be resources available for individual pastoral care and Title IV consultations in separate spaces of the Convention Center as people may find the need and desire for continued support and assistance,” the bishops said.

The letter also acknowledges that some submitted reflections “might raise the possibility of a Title IV action” and says that Bishop Todd Ousley of the presiding bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development will communicate with the author directly.

The roots of the session are in a Jan. 22 letter from Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, calling on Episcopalians to spend Lent and beyond examining the church’s history and how it has handled or mishandled cases of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse.

Curry and Jennings said in their Jan. 22 letter to the church that they wanted General Convention to discuss these issues because they “want to hear the voice of the wider church as we determine how to proceed in both atoning for the church’s past and shaping a more just future.”

They called in their letter for an Ash Wednesday Day of Prayer on Feb. 14, during which Episcopalians should meditate on how the church has “failed to stand with women and other victims of abuse and harassment.”

Jennings went on to organize a Lenten series of reflections, essays and meditations, some of them explicit in their descriptions, about sexual harassment and exploitation in the church that were posted on the House of Deputies website. In early March, she also appointed a special House of Deputies committee on resolutions regarding sexual harassment and exploitation. The committee is drafting General Convention resolutions on inclusive theology and language; disparities in pay, hiring, leave and pensions; changes to the Title IV disciplinary process and training; truth and reconciliation and systemic social justice beyond the church.

Around the same time that Jennings appointed the committee, the House of Bishops convened for its spring retreat meeting during which “after intense conversation and listening,” the May 4 letter said, the bishops formed a task force to create the General Convention pastoral response.

“This pastoral response will support the good work of the House of Deputies whose efforts towards more effective legislation will come before our General Convention this summer,” Curry and Gray-Reeves wrote. “Our intention is to offer a sacred space for listening and further our work of reconciliation in the broken places of our body.

The New York Times has described the #MeToo movement as a “mass mobilization against sexual abuse, through an unprecedented wave of speaking out in conventional and social media” that “erod[es] the two biggest barriers to ending sexual harassment in law and in life: the disbelief and trivializing dehumanization of its victims.”

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

Canadian Anglicans unite to step up the fight against human trafficking

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:02pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Together as a church, Canadian Anglicans are taking steps towards ending human trafficking across their nation. In April, the Anglican Church of Canada organized a regional consultation in Pickering, Ontario, at the Manresa Jesuit Centre. Individuals from across the region of Ontario listened to stories of survivors, discussed the cycle that traps victims and responded with priorities and action. The consultation involved panel discussions and presentations, with speakers including government representatives, indigenous leaders, Anglican Communion partners and professions working to end human trafficking.

Read the entire article here.

Christians across the world join together to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 5:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Christians around the world are pledging to mark the time between Ascension Day on May 10 and Pentecost on May 20 with a single prayer: Thy Kingdom Come. Next week marks the third observance of Thy Kingdom Come, an invitation to Anglicans and Christians across the globe to join in prayer. For the second year, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has joined in the initiative, providing several prayer resources as well. The initiative grew out of a call that the archbishops of Canterbury and York made to the Church of England in 2016 to pray that God’s Kingdom would come. Since then, it has grown into an international movement with Christians praying that people everywhere would come to know Jesus Christ.

Read the entire article here.

Navajoland envisions new uses for old hospital as Presiding Bishop blesses reconsecrated chapel

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 5:27pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Navajoland Area Mission is committed to fixing up one of its historic buildings in Farmington, New Mexico, as a labor of love. It would be easier and cheaper simply to demolish the 1922 structure, but this is no ordinary building.

It originally served as an Episcopal hospital catering to the Navajo people. Generations of Navajo were born and treated at the hospital until it closed about 50 years ago. The hospital’s chapel remained in use until about a decade ago, when it too was closed, out of safety concerns.

Because of its deteriorating condition, saving the building is a herculean task, but through Episcopal Church grants, additional fundraising efforts and the dedication of Navajoland officials, a two-year restoration project had advanced enough to reopen the chapel last week in time for it to be reconsecrated and blessed during Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s recent visit to Navajoland.

“We put things on hyper-overdrive to get the chapel ready for the presiding bishop’s visit,” said Rev. Chan Osborn de Anaya, canon to the ordinary for Navajoland Bishop Dave Bailey. She called Hozho Chapel “the heart of the body of Christ in that old hospital.”

“The rest of the building will be finished hopefully in the fall,” she said. The chapel will share the second floor with a new women’s wellness center, while the ground floor will become the home of Cheii’s Web Development, an upstart enterprise created by Navajoland to teach young people coding skills and create jobs in web design.

“I’m very excited,” G.J. Gordy, manager and web developer with Cheii’s, told Episcopal News Service. “We’re going to start teaching web development and basic computer skills, and teaching has been a passion of mine, especially helping Navajo children.”

Navajoland has been working to restore the two-story building and transform it into a women's wellness center.https://t.co/3xJXrRP5J3

— TheDailyTimes (@TheDailyTimes) April 30, 2018

A lot of work still needs to be done, however, before the former hospital can become a fully functioning space again.

The building, about 6,000 square feet, had been mostly abandoned until Navajoland launched its restoration project in 2016 with Osborn de Anaya as project manager, drawing on her past experience as a real estate broker. Navajoland received $325,000 for the project from the Episcopal Church that year through a grant to support indigenous ministries.

But when contractors began their work, they discovered troubling problems with the building. Much of the plumbing needed to be replaced, as well as the electrical wiring. Sometime in the building’s history, a load-bearing wall had been removed, so new supports had to be installed. Those and other needed upgrades have added about $150,000 to the cost of the project.

“Every day, I go in and it’s a new challenge, and somehow my spirit is holding,” Osborn de Anaya said.

The Episcopal Church’s ministry on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo reservation dates back more than a century to medical missions established in Fort Defiance, Arizona; Farmington, New Mexico, and Bluff, Utah. In 1978, the Episcopal Church carved out sections of the dioceses of Rio Grande, Arizona and Utah to create the Navajoland Area Mission, and since Bailey was assigned to Navajoland in 2010, he has emphasized the goals of financial sustainability and raising up Native church leaders.

Despite the extensive repairs needed, Navajoland leaders wouldn’t think of tearing down the old hospital building. Many people in the local white community may not be aware of the its significance, Osborn de Anaya said, but it still holds treasured memories for many of the Native residents.

To ensure the building will be preserved, Navajoland is seeking financial support from local businesses and institutions, in addition to casting a wider net with the help of Episcopal Church Office of Development. One potential partner is New York’s Trinity Church Wall Street, which is sending a delegation later this month to visit the restoration project as it considers ways it can offer support. A GoFundMe campaign also has been launched.

“This is going to take the whole village, and it’s so worthy,” Osborn de Anaya said.

Navajoland also has long received support from the Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering program, including a $29,000 grant in 2017 to pay for the utility upgrades and technology needed to move the Cheii’s web developers into the former hospital. Until then, the two full-time developers and additional part-time developers are working nearby in spare space shared with other Navajoland offices.

Bailey welcomed Curry on the presiding bishop’s five-day visit to Navajoland, from April 25 to 29. Curry’s delegation included the Rev. Michael Hunn, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the church; the Rev Bradley Hauff, Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries, and Cecilia Malm, development officer for Navajoland.

The old hospital was one of Curry’s first stops when on April 25 he joined a small gathering in the chapel for a rededication and blessing.

A Farmington resident who attended, Katherine Sells, told the Farmington Daily Times that she was born in the hospital in 1945 and remembers playing on its steps as a child while she was there for medical treatment. She was pleased to see it rededicated.

“It made me emotional, because my dad would say that my mom would go in that chapel. I guess she prayed [there],” Sells said.

Bailey told the Daily Times the building’s poor condition had raised concerns that it would be torn down, but he supported Native residents’ desire to preserve it.

“They wanted to bring it back so that it was a place of healing again,” he said.

Curry alluded to the Navajo’s strong belief in tradition during his sermon April 29 at Good Shepherd Mission in Fort Defiance.

“The closer we draw to our traditions and live with those traditions and find our God in the midst of those, we’ll find life,” Curry said. “That is one of the great gifts you give to the church. … You have found a way to bring together the traditions of the Navajo and faith in Jesus.”

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

Rio Tinto faces up to Church of England shareholders’ resolution on coal lobby

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:12am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A resolution co-filed by the Church of England Pensions Board challenging Rio Tinto’s continuing support for pro-coal lobby groups has failed at the company’s annual general meeting. But the resolution attracted the support of 18.3 percent of Rio Tinto’s shareholders, including Aegon and Legal & General, in what the Church of England described as “the largest vote for a shareholder resolution related to climate change, without board support, in Australian corporate history.” In addition to the board, the resolution was co-filed by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, the Australian pension fund Local Government Super and The Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund.

Read the entire article here.

Episcopalian included in Baylor survey naming a dozen who can really preach

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:04am

The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor is listed in Baylor’s current survey and the last one the school did in 1996. Photo: Baylor

[Religion News Service] A dozen pastors known for their consistently stellar performances in the pulpit  made Baylor University’s list of the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world.

The list of 11 men and one woman, Episcopalian the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, chosen by scholars of homiletics, or the art of preaching, was released May 1.

“In a world where talk is cheap and there seems to be no end to it, the preacher has to recover the priority and power of the word,” said W. Hulitt Gloer, director of the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas.

“Words are the tools of the preacher and that gives them incredible power,” Gloer added.

The dozen preachers in the top 12 — academics, pastors and authors — were picked from nearly 800 nominees.

Preaching experts in the Academy of Homiletics and the Evangelical Homiletics Society judged how much nominees’ preaching matched criteria that included their selection of biblical texts, the relevance of their sermons, and their ability to deliver them in language people can understand.

It’s been 22 years since Baylor last produced such a survey. Four names appear on both the 1996 list and the one released Tuesday, including Taylor.

The Baylor preaching center sent the 1996 criteria to more than 500 homiletics professors for their input on criteria for the new survey. Members of the two homiletics societies were then asked to nominate as many as five people who met the new criteria. A total of 179 members — more than 30 percent of the membership of those two societies — submitted names. The final choices were narrowed down from 39 individuals who received the largest number of nominations.

Diocese of Chile takes step towards becoming the Anglican Communion’s 40th province

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:02am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Diocese of Chile in the Anglican Church of South America could become its own autonomous province of the Anglican Communion by the end of 2018. An extraordinary Synod of the diocese will be held later this month to confirm a resolution that was ratified by the Synod when it met in Temuco in 2015. Nearly 100 representatives from across Chile will gather in Santiago on May 12, to agree proposals for the creation of what will become new dioceses in the independent province, and elect the people who will become its first bishops and primate.

Read the entire article here.

The Rev. Canon Kevin Nichols elected bishop of Bethlehem

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:36am

[Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem] The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, which encompasses northeastern Pennsylvania, has elected the Rev. Canon Kevin D. Nichols, 56, as its next bishop.

Nichols, who is currently, chief operating officer and canon for mission resources in the Diocese of New Hampshire, was elected on the first ballot by the clergy of the diocese and elected lay representatives during a meeting in the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

“I am thrilled to be joining with the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem to bear witness to the power of the Resurrection in their communities,” Nichols said. “The momentum there is unmistakable and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us together.

“I see this as a moment for us as a church to recover our purpose for why we are here, to reconcile and to offer God’s love and healing where there has been painful damage. The Diocese of Bethlehem in its diverse landscapes is rich and fertile ground for God’s planting and pruning.”

Nichols was formerly president of the Diocese of New Hampshire’s Standing Committee and a member of the churchwide Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church.

A former Roman Catholic priest who received his master of divinity degree from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, he was received into the Episcopal priesthood in 1999 and has served as rector of St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and St. Andrew’s in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.

While serving small parishes, Nichols also worked as an account manager and management trainer for Sealed Air Corporation, a packaging company.

“I really like how naturally Kevin integrates his faith and spirituality into his everyday life,” said the Rev. J. Douglas Moyer, president of the Bethlehem diocesan standing committee. “To me it is apparent that he is a very spiritual person, close to God and will make a wonderful pastor. He doesn’t talk about I, he talks about “we, we, we.” And we are ready to do this together.”

The Rt. Rev. Sean W. Rowe, bishop of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, served Bethlehem as provisional bishop for four years while the diocese determined its future.

“This diocese is so ready to take the next step, and we were not four years ago,” Moyer said. “And we are so excited about where we are headed.”

The bishop-elect’s wife, Patti, is a licensed clinical social worker. They have four adult children: Graham, Lindsay, Bryan and Keaton, and three grandchildren.

Pending consents from the wider Episcopal Church, Nichols will be ordained as bishop on Sept. 15 at First Presbyterian Church 3231 W. Tilghman Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The Diocese of Bethlehem includes almost 12,000 members in 58 congregations in northeastern Pennsylvania.

‘Welcome Movement’ calls on Christian families to show love to Chile’s most vulnerable children

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 4:38pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches in Chile are working together to create a network of host families to help provide shelter for vulnerable children. The Welcome Movement, which is supported by the Diocese of Chile, part of the Anglican Church of South America, held a conference in April as they sought to recruit “Families of Specialized Shelters.” The overarching message from the conference was that “it is time we loved, not only in words, but with concrete actions for our children.”

Read the entire article here.