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Updated: 19 min 31 sec ago

Kanuga names new director of formation programs and resident chaplain

57 min 11 sec ago

This summer, Kanuga appointed the Rev. Richmond Jones as director of formation programs and resident chaplain. Richmond officially began his position in July and oversees the development of Kanuga’s youth and adult programming. In addition, he is actively serving as chaplain to Kanuga’s staff and guests.

“Richmond brings not only extensive experience but—just as importantly—deep relationships in the Kanuga community that will allow us to build our program substantively,” says Kanuga President Michael R. Sullivan. “His theological training and expertise, combined with extensive networks throughout the Episcopal Church, will help us strengthen our program across the board.”

As the director of formation programs, Richmond will focus on increasing offerings through new and revitalized programs and the development of retreats. Kanuga hopes to plan and execute new and diverse offerings that prepare and strengthen individuals for their work in the world.

“We want to offer programming for all ages—children through adult,” said Richmond. “Our goal is for attendees to know that their meaning and personal fulfillment is rooted in being beloved by God.”

Richmond has deep roots at Kanuga, having served at Kanuga’s youth conferences for more than a decade. “To be a part of Kanuga is a big honor,” says Richmond. “I am very aware that there’s a good deal of work to be done, but I am looking forward to it. It feels like coming home.”

Prior to accepting his new role at Kanuga, he served as curate of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Macon, Georgia. His prior experience includes also serving as the resident chaplain at Sewanee: The University of the South and campus missioner at Mercer University and Wesleyan College.

RIP: The Rev. Stefani S. Schatz, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of California

1 hour 38 min ago

[Diocese of California] Stefani S. Schatz grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and it was her wish that, after 14 months of struggling with cancer, she would come home to spend her last days there. On July 7, she arrived in Santa Barbara, a place she loved. She passed away on five days later on July 12.

Schatz was born in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 24, 1962, and moved with her family to Santa Barbara in 1966. She graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California, and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She became an Episcopal priest in 2001 and had the honor to minister in Hermosa Beach, California; Manchester, United Kingdom; Reno, Nevada; San Francisco and Alameda, California.

Schatz was talented and had many gifts, and those who knew her described her with one word above all: JOY. This was evident during her ministry as an Episcopal priest. Her final calling was to be canon to the ordinary to Bishop Marc Handley Andrus in the Diocese of California. She called herself the “Mobile” canon, joyfully visiting all the parishes.

Schatz was the first woman to be canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of California. She was a tremendous advocate for women in the church, having founded the “Breaking the Episcopal Glass Ceiling” Facebook group. In Schatz’s words:

“This is a group for Ordained Episcopal Women whose goal is more women bishops! Together we will: build friendships, support vocational wonderings, share wisdom, identify complexities, listen to frustrations, and celebrate successes with generous respect, deep listening, and abundant trust — with God’s help!”

Schatz also provided special care and guidance to vicars, the priests who serve the diocesan missions. She gathered them monthly, forming a vibrant and mutually supportive community. Additionally, Stefani revised the diocesan curriculum for clergy in transition and made it responsive to current needs.

Schatz also developed the ministry of Andrus, and it was she who first encouraged him to travel to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. “It is fair to say that the Episcopal Church would not be represented through the presiding bishop at the United Nations climate change summits if it were not for her,” said Andrus in a letter to the diocese. Now, the church has formal status at the annual meetings and will be, for the third year, taking an active role on behalf of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Schatz is survived by her loving husband of 15 years, the Rev. Joseph F. Duggan; her mother, Iva Hillegas Schatz; father, Lawrence D. Schatz; sister, Heather S. Schatz; nephews, Oliver and Addison Chan Schatz; aunt, Melissa L. Hillegas; cousins, Hunter-Scott (Megan) Hillegas and Thatcher Hillegas; and relatives in Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania.

Family members who predeceased her are her uncle, the Rev. Lyle C. Hillegas, her aunt, Winifred Syring, her maternal grandparents in Wisconsin, and her paternal grandparents in Pennsylvania.

Services of Resurrection will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 30 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street, Santa Barbara, and Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Instead of flowers, contributions “In Memory of Stefani Schatz” may be made to St. Margaret’s Visiting Professorship of Women in Ministry at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

The address is:

2451 Ridge Road Berkeley, CA 94709
Attn: Advancement Department.

À la clôture d’EYE17, « ceux qui font œuvre de paix » tracent leur chemin de retour

2 hours 53 min ago

Plus de 1 300 adolescents rassemblés au soleil couchant au monument commémoratif national d’Oklahoma City le 12 juillet pour une cérémonie aux chandelles. Photo : Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Edmond (Oklahoma)] Alors que le soleil commençait à se coucher le 12 juillet à Oklahoma City, les jeunes de l’Église épiscopale se sont rassemblés par diocèse pour une procession depuis la Cathédrale St. Paul à quelque centaines de mètres au sud  du Monument commémoratif national d’Oklahoma City sur North Robinson Avenue pour une cérémonie aux chandelles.

La cérémonie faisait  suite à une visite ce même jour du musée commémoratif qui retrace la chronologie depuis les trente minutes avant l’attentat à la bombe du 19 avril 1995 qui a tué 168 personnes et blessé 680 autres, jusqu’à l’exécution de Timothy McVeigh.

« La manière dont c’est présenté, vous avancez dans le temps et c’est quelque chose de stupéfiant », déclare Kiera Campbell, âgée de 16 ans, du Diocèse d’Olympia, membre du comité de planification d’EYE17 (Episcopal Youth Event 2017 – Événement pour la Jeunesse épiscopale 2017). « Il est étonnant de voir comment une ville entière s’est mobilisée et a été capable de trouver la paix en son sein ».

Mille trois cents jeunes de 109 diocèses de l’Église épiscopale ont participé au 13e  EYE qui s’est tenu du 10 au 14 juillet à l’University of Central Oklahoma d’Edmond, à une vingtaine de minutes en voiture d’Oklahoma City. Les Béatitudes et tout particulièrement Matthieu 5:9 – « Heureux ceux qui font œuvre de paix : ils seront appelés fils de Dieu » – ont inspiré le thème d’EYE17 intitulé « Voie vers la paix ». (Certains jeunes de la Province IX, des diocèses d’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes étaient absents car ils se sont vu refuser leur visa d’entrée aux États-Unis).

Les adolescents qui participaient à EYE17 à Edmond (État d’Oklahoma) se sont rendu le 12 juillet au Monument et Musée commémoratifs nationaux d’Oklahoma City. Ici, ils visitent la Galerie d’honneur où des photographies des 168 personnes, dont 19 enfants, ornent les murs. Photo : Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

La veille au soir avant la visite du musée et la cérémonie, des survivants de l’attentat à la bombe ont partagé leur expérience personnelle avec les jeunes au cours d’une séance plénière sur le campus. Au cours de la cérémonie aux chandelles, les jeunes étaient assis les jambes croisées dans l’herbe face à 168 chaises vides dont 19 plus petites pour les enfants, chacune représentant une des victimes. Entre deux piliers affichant les chiffres 9h01 et 9h03, un bassin réfléchissant mettait en lumière 9h02, la minute où a explosé le camion piégé qui a détruit le bâtiment fédéral Alfred P. Murrah.

Plus encore que l’histoire, c’était la réponse humaine et son impact inoubliable dont l’évêque d’Oklahoma Ed Konieczny souhaitait que les jeunes s’imprègnent. L’attentat à la bombe, a-t-il déclaré, a rassemblé le peuple d’Oklahoma dans un esprit d’unité, dans ce qui est devenu la « Norme en Oklahoma », norme qui continue aujourd’hui.

« Si vous venez en Oklahoma et que vous devenez un résident d’Oklahoma, [ce récit] va faire partie de qui vous êtes car à bien des égards c’est un événement charnière, non seulement pour Oklahoma City mais pour tout l’État » poursuit Ed Konieczny, qui était prêtre au Texas au moment de l’attentat à la bombe. « C’est malheureux qu’il en soit ainsi mais il a fallu cela pour donner de l’énergie et mettre en lumière la bonté des habitants d’Oklahoma City et de l’État d’Oklahoma… et cela n’a pas cessé ».

Les photos des victimes ornent la Galerie d’honneur, la dernière exposition du Monument & Musée commémoratifs nationaux d’Oklahoma City. Photo : Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Alors même que ces jeunes n’étaient pas encore nés en 1995 – leur tranche d’âge allait de 13 à 18 ans –, ils vivent dans un monde de plus en plus violent. C’est pour cette raison qu’Ed Konieczny souhaitait co-accueillir EYE17 dans son diocèse et partager l’histoire d’Oklahoma City comme un exemple de paix et de résilience.

« L’événement est pertinent car il les aide à voir toutes les autres choses qui se passent dans notre monde et notre société et les autres actes de violence qui ont lieu, que ce soit Columbine, Virginia Tech ou la Floride. Il semble que chaque jour il se passe autre chose, parfois important, parfois mineur », explique-t-il. « J’espère que la conclusion est que nous, en tant que société, allons faire quelque chose à ce sujet. Et ils ont la capacité de le faire …  Le message ne va pas être l’attentat. Le message à retenir est un message de vie et nous allons placer notre foi là où elle doit être, nous allons lutter pour la justice et dire non, nous n’allons pas vivre de cette façon, nous allons agir différemment ».

Répondre à la violence et à la haine par l’amour était au plus profond du message de la Voie vers la paix.

« La réalité est que la haine ne fonctionne pas et que la violence ne fonctionne pas. Les êtres humains ont été créés par amour parce que je suis convaincu que Dieu est amour, que nous sommes là pour aimer et que la vie ne fonctionne que lorsque nous aimons. Et ce monument est un douloureux rappel que la haine fait souffrir et fait mal et que nous ne sommes pas faits pour cela, a déclaré l’Évêque Primat Michael Curry, sur le site commémoratif. « Nous sommes mis sur cette terre pour trouver une meilleure voie. Pour trouver la vie et l’amour pour tous et le fait de venir voir ce monument et d’être ici aujourd’hui est une occasion pour nous de nous consacrer et dédier à nouveau à la création d’un monde où règne l’amour ».

Il y a aussi eu des moments ludiques à EYE17. Le révérend Tim Schenck, à gauche, recteur de l’Église épiscopale St. John the Evangelist à Hingham (État du Massachusetts) et le révérend Scott Gunn, directeur exécutif de Forward Movement, assis tandis que Sierra Palmer du Diocèse du Kansas vote pour l’un des deux saints. Sainte Quitère a battu Saint Longinus, 72 à 28 % et fera partie du tournoi Lent Madness 2018. Le reste des saints de la grille de l’année prochaine sera annoncé en novembre. Photo : Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Il y a un an, le comité de planification d’EYE17 qui comprend 16 jeunes est venu à Oklahoma City et a visité le musée et le monument commémoratifs pour se faire une idée de ce qu’allait être l’expérience de leurs camarades. Il est immédiatement apparu clairement que l’histoire d’Oklahoma City est quelque chose que « tout un chacun a besoin d’entendre », a déclaré Andrés Gonzalez Bonilla, âgé de 16 ans, du Diocèse d’Arizona, qui faisait partie de l’équipe qui a planifié la liturgie et la musique. La réponse de la ville à un acte de terrorisme interne est « une histoire certes tragique mais aussi belle et émouvante ».

« L’équipe de planification de la mission d’EYE a commencé il y a plus de 18 mois à imaginer ce que serait l’événement. Ils l’ont axé sur les écritures selon Matthieu et les Béatitudes », a expliqué Bronwyn Clark Skov, chargée au sein de l’Église épiscopale de la formation, de la jeunesse et des jeunes adultes, qui supervise le ministère de la jeunesse. « Nous sommes véritablement frappés par tout cet ensemble, mais aussi, en raison de ce qui se passe dans le monde, nous sommes focalisés sur « heureux ceux qui font œuvre de paix ».

L’événement triennal de la jeunesse, mandat de la Convention générale de l’église, a attiré 1 400 personnes en tout, dont 35 évêques ainsi que des accompagnateurs, des aumôniers, des bénévoles du secteur médical et d’autres secteurs. Chaque prédicateur, intervenant, exposant et séance pratique a traité le thème d’une manière ou d’une autre.

L’Évêque Primat Michael Curry a prêché et présidé le service eucharistique d’ouverture d’EYE17. Photo : Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Michael Curry a prêché au cours du service eucharistique d’ouverture du 11 juillet puis, plus tard ce même jour, a proposé deux ateliers l’un après l’autre sur le « Mouvement de Jésus », suivis de questions-réponses. D’autres intervenants, dont la révérende Gay Clark Jennings, présidente de la Chambre des Députés, des évêques, des membres du personnel de l’Église épiscopale, des représentants d’Episcopal Relief & Development, de Forma, d’Episcopal Service Corps et d’autres ont proposé des ateliers allant de la défense des droits à la vie dans des communautés intentionnelles comme exemple de voie vers la paix, en passant par la communication non violente dans un monde violent.

« Je pense que la « Voie vers la paix » a été articulée de nombreuses manières différentes au cours de cet événement et j’ai espoir que cela a été suffisamment contagieux pour que, lorsque tous ces jeunes repartent chez eux, ils commencent à parler de leur expérience ici et de ce qu’ils y ont appris afin qu’ils se sentent le pouvoir de véritablement agir sur leur propre désir de ce qui est bon et droit et le don reçu de Dieu pour faire quelque chose, explique Bronwyn Skov.

Au cours d’une conférence de presse le 11 juillet, Trevor Mahan du Diocèse du Kansas, membre du comité de planification, a dit que les jeunes avaient intentionnellement conçu l’événement de manière à ce que les jeunes fassent connaissance avec les dirigeants de l’Église et de l’Église épiscopale au sens large, en leur offrant les moyens d’une plus grande participation à tous les niveaux.

Mme Campbell, du Diocèse d’Olympia, tout comme Trevor Mahan au sein de l’équipe de planification, en est convenue.

« Nous voulons que les gens puissent repartir chez eux et se connecter avec d’autres organisations épiscopales, a-t-elle déclaré et rapporter le message de la Voie vers la paix afin d’encourager d’autres jeunes à s’impliquer.

Ed Konieczny place un réel espoir dans les jeunes d’aujourd’hui qui sont beaucoup plus inclusifs que les générations précédentes. La composition d’EYE17, le groupe le plus diversifié qui ait jamais existé, en apporte la preuve.

« Comme je l’ai dit au cours de mon homélie lors de la cérémonie aux chandelles, les jeunes d’aujourd’hui peuvent faire une différence réelle dans le monde », a-t-il déclaré.

« Ils en sont à un stade maintenant où ils établissent la façon dont leur génération va vivre ensemble et on peut déjà voir le niveau d’acceptation, d’inclusion et de volonté de vivre dans la diversité et de respecter l’autre. Et cela n’a pas toujours été le cas pour les générations précédentes ; ici c’est nous et là c’est eux et nous gardons simplement nos distances », explique Konieczny.

EYE20 est déjà en cours de préparation avec l’aide d’une subvention du Constable Fund. l’Église épiscopale prévoit d’organiser l’événement en Amérique latine.

– Lynette Wilson est rédactrice en chef de l’Episcopal News Service.

Young Anglicans in South Africa create garden on ‘Mandela Day’

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:10am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Young people from a parish in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, have cultivated a garden at their church as a way of remembering Nelson Mandela on what was his birthday, July 18.

Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. The tradition has developed of taking 67 minutes to do something for others on Mandela day, celebrating the 67 years that Mandela dedicated to social justice.

Full article.

Archbishop of York leading teenagers on pilgrimage to Taizé in France

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:05am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Teenagers from five schools in northern England have set off on pilgrimage with Archbishop of York John Sentamu to Taize in France.  The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions.

Full article.

Episcopal faith is common ground for Kansas lawmakers on opposite sides of political aisle

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 3:12pm

Republican Rep. Lonnie Clark, left, and Democratic Rep. Brandon Whipple are thought to be the only Episcopalians in the Kansas Legislature. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Diocese of Kansas

[Episcopal News Service] Kansas state Reps. Brandon Whipple and Lonnie Clark would seem at first glance to have little in common. Whipple is a young Kansas transplant with a growing young family, and Clark is a retiree who grew up in the state.

Their differing backgrounds extend to their politics: Whipple is a Democrat and Clark is a Republican. But the two men have a faith connection. Both are Episcopalians and are thought to be the only two in the part-time Kansas Legislature.

Each joined the Episcopal Church in recent years, and each says his religious values inform his political stances, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes overtly.

“From my standpoint, at least my philosophy on Christianity and me being a Christian, I try to treat everybody fairly whether I’m in the House of Representatives or with my neighbor,” Clark said in a phone interview with Episcopal News Service.

Clark, 73, worked as a health care administrator and a Homeland Security trainer until his retirement. He has several grown children and young grandchildren and lives in Junction City, where one of the top political issues is preserving jobs at the nearby army base, Fort Riley.

Whipple, 34, represents a district in Kansas’ largest city, Wichita, and was an adult when he adopted the state as his home on his way to earning a doctorate in leadership studies. He teaches college part time, and he and his wife have two young sons, with a third child on the way.

Clark and Whipple work on opposite sides of the aisle in a state where Republicans control the Legislature and the governorship, but they found themselves on the same side of a high-profile vote June 6, succeeding in overriding Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of the state budget. Brownback’s tax cut plan had drawn bipartisan criticism for failing to deliver robust economic growth, and Republicans joined with Democrats in rolling the cuts back. The 2017 legislative session concluded later that month.

The pair of legislators also connected over their shared Episcopal faith after they were featured in a joint profile in the Diocese of Kansas’ newsletter. Religion has become an easy conversation starter.

“I don’t know if I would have had an opportunity to get to really get to know him, but now that I have, I do feel much closer to him,” Whipple told ENS, adding that he respects Clark for speaking up for his values on the floor of the House. “When he speaks, it’s on something he truly cares about.”

Clark’s Christian values originate in the Baptist faith of his childhood. That faith carried him into adulthood, but he later converted to Roman Catholicism, partly because of the Catholic chaplains he met while he was a soldier serving in Vietnam.

After returning home from the war, his career moved him around the country, from Des Moines, Iowa, to Birmingham, Alabama. He retired in 2004 but later went to work for the Department of Homeland Security training air marshals. He eventually moved back to Kansas and retired for good.

Clark’s first marriage ended in divorce, and when he returned to Kansas, he met the woman he calls the “love of my life,” a former high school sweetheart whose first husband had died. She is a lifelong Episcopalian, and they married in an Episcopal church in 2015.

Clark, a second-term representative first elected in 2014, has been active in the Episcopal Church of the Covenant in Junction City, even serving previously as junior warden on the vestry. But he said he isn’t the kind of politician who freely invokes his Christian beliefs to make a political point, and he doesn’t see his faith as an overriding factor in his political work, “other than treating people with dignity and respect.”

He cites that belief, though, as helping him see people as more than Republicans or Democrats. “I think my faith is kind of the reason that I’m able to work across the aisle,” he said.

Whipple was first elected to the House in 2012. Now in his third two-year term, he holds a position on the Democratic leadership team, as agenda chair. He attends St. James Episcopal Church in Wichita.

“We had an adult forum about the Beatitudes, and I think that kind of sums it up politically,” Whipple said. “‘Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the meek.’

“When it comes to opportunities in our state we need to make sure – and I think this goes really hand in hand with the values of the Episcopal Church – we need to make sure there’s opportunity for everyone.”

Whipple grew up in New Hampshire. It wasn’t until high school that he felt drawn to a faith tradition. A friend of his had an uncle who was a Roman Catholic priest, and they attended the uncle’s church together. Whipple was baptized at age 17 and later confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church.

As a college student, he volunteered to spend a year in Kansas working with at-risk children through AmeriCorps. He fell in love with the state and decided to stay after the year was up, transferring to Wichita State University.

His wife, whom he met in Kansas, was raised Roman Catholic, and they attended a Catholic church in Wichita for a while. They ended up in the Episcopal Church partly because of politics, Whipple said.

A priest at the Catholic church that they had been attending sometimes included partisan views in his homilies, Whipple said. He was most bothered by the priest’s implication that Republicans were more authentically Christian than Democrats, a message also heard in ads by a Kansas lobbying group that claimed it represented Catholic interests, Whipple said.

“They were wrong. They were painting all the Democrats with a particular brush,” Whipple said, adding that he maintains a deep respect for the Roman Catholic tradition.

In 2015, he and his wife visited St. James and found it a welcoming new spiritual home. They also liked that, because the Episcopal Church ordained women, there would be female role models in the clergy if they were to have a daughter. (They chose not to learn of the sex of their new baby until the birth,. The baby, born after Whipple’s interview with ENS, is a boy, according to the Diocese of Kansas.)

“Separating church politics and party politics was kind of our goal, while still being able to maintain our values,” Whipple said.

Like Clark, Whipple said he doesn’t often wear his Episcopal faith on his sleeve, though he put the church’s values front and center when he spoke out earlier this year against a proposed state moratorium on refugees.

Amid an intense parallel debate at the federal level over the Trump administration’s policies toward refugees, the Kansas moratorium bill advanced out of a House committee in March, but it stalled after concerns were raised by legislators, including Whipple.

“We as a nation are distancing from the politics of reason to the politics of fear,” Whipple said, according to an Associated Press report. Clark voted in favor of Whipple’s amendment seeking to protect the resettlement work of religious organizations, though the amendment was defeated. The bill was referred back to the committee, where it died.

Whipple told ENS the debate on the refugee moratorium was “one of the biggest clashes of my personal faith with politics.”

“I felt this bill would challenge a deeply felt religious belief, that we should be an open society to people less fortunate around the world,” he said, and he was proud to cite the statements of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe in support of continued refugee resettlement.

Wolfe, who left Diocese of Kansas this year to become rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, got to know both Clark and Whipple during his time in Kansas.

“One of the joys of ordained ministry is seeing your parishioners take their faith into the world.  Lonnie Clark and Brandon Whipple give sacrificially of their time and talent to serve the public as members of the Kansas legislature,” Wolfe said in an emailed statement to ENS. “I’m so glad we have faithful people like Lonnie and Brandon struggling to make decisions for the common good in an increasingly polarized political environment.”

The two lawmakers say getting to know each other as fellow Episcopalians has helped them see each other as public servants both motivated to make Kansas better despite aligning with different parties.

“I think he’s trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do,” Clark said. “We’re just taking a different path doing it.”

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

Episcopal Church of Cuba working with communities to transform lives

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 1:56pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Alliance has been on a fact finding mission to the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba to learn more about its mission and development programme. In every part of the communion, the Anglican Alliance seeks to understand local models of holistic mission which can be shared for mutual inspiration and learning. In this article the Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director, and Paulo Ueti, regional facilitator from Latin America, reflect on their visit.

Read the article here.

Holiday offer from Mothers’ Union for families affected by London tower block blaze

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 1:53pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] As part of a united and co-ordinated response from members in dioceses across the United Kingdom, Mothers’ Union is planning to support families who were affected by the London tower block fire tragedy in June by offering holidays under the charity’s Away From It All (AFIA) scheme.

Read the entire article here.

Priest declares ‘Last Howlelujah Tour’ with ailing dog a barking success

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 4:50pm

Nawiliwili “Wili” Nelson relaxes at Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, the last stop on his “Last Howlelujah Tour” with the Rev. Bill Miller. Photo: Bill Miller

[Episcopal News Service] The priestly pup Nawiliwili “Wili” Nelson has become quite the celebrity from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Las Vegas, Nevada, and he concluded his road trip with the Rev. Bill Miller on July 16 by topping $10,000 raised for animal wellness charities along the route of their “Last Howlelujah Tour.”

Wili, a terrier mix, received a cancer diagnosis in November and was given as little as three months to live, but Miller’s beloved dog has hung on much longer with the help of surgery, chemotherapy and a healthier diet.

Miller, rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Covington, Louisiana, decided to take time off this summer to spend quality time with Wili while he could, and they embarked on the road trip together on July 1. Their six-state tour featured events in 18 cities, including visits to churches, breweries and bookstores, where part of the proceeds of sales of Miller’s two books were added to the daily fundraisers.

The duo made their final stop July 16 at Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas. Miller delivered a sermon at two morning services and then spoke at a gathering hosted at the church in the evening.

That one stop raised $3,500 for the Animal Foundation of Las Vegas, Miller said on his Facebook page, and the tour’s final fundraising total reached $12,150.

“Thank you to Mountain View Presbyterian for your incredible hospitality,” Miller said. “Thank you to all our Episcopal friends that turned out to support us. … Our hearts overflow with joy and gratitude.”

Along the way, Miller and Wili have been featured in news report after news report, from the New Orleans Times-Picayune to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Episcopal News Service also reported on the duo in this July 10 article.)

Miller, a 58-year-old Texas native, adopted Wili 12 years ago while he was living in Hawaii. (The dog’s full name is intended to be a little bit Hawaiian and a little bit Texan.)

He estimated the round trip will add about 5,000 miles to their Honda CRV by the time they get back to Covington, and after all the public events on the way to Las Vegas, the ride home will just be about spending precious time with Wili.

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

Sam Rodman ordained, consecrated bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 3:57pm

Co-consecrators of the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman, third from left, as bishop of North Carolina, were (L-R) East Carolina Bishop Rob Skirving, North Carolina Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Diocese of Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan retired Barbara Harris, Western North Carolina Bishop Jose McLaughlin and Diocese of Massachusetts Bishop Alan Gates. Photo: Diocese of North Carolina.

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] It was joyful in Durham, North Carolina, on July 15, when the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman was ordained and consecrated as the XII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

Rodman was elected on March 4, marking the culmination of a search that began after former bishop Michael Curry was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention in 2015.

Approximately 1,000 people attended and participated the 2 ½-hour service at Duke University Chapel, where Curry returned to North Carolina to celebrate his successor and serve as the chief consecrator. Several bishops served as co-consecrators, including the Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts; the Rt. Rev. Rob Skirving, bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Jose McLaughlin, bishop of the Diocese of Western North Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts, retired; and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina. Hodges-Copple served as bishop diocesan pro tempore during the time of diocesan transition.

Watch the ordination and consecration.

The Drummers of St. Cyprian’s, Oxford, signaled the start of the service at 10:30 a.m., their synchronized rhythm immediately creating an atmosphere of high energy and celebration. The steady beat of their drums provided the backdrop for the early part of the procession, which included liturgical dancer Diana Turner-Forte, an 80-person choir composed of singers from churches across the diocese, service participants, ecumenical and interfaith clergy, and diocesan clergy. The choir joined the tympani and brass instruments in heralding the rest of the procession, including the visiting and co-consecrating bishops.

Readings were presented in both English and Spanish, and both Spanish and American Sign Language interpreters provided translation throughout the service.

Diocese of Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris preached, by turns drawing laughter, applause, cheers and murmurs of agreement. She spoke of how in a world of immense challenges, North Carolina is blessed, noting the state has mountains, beaches, forests, NASCAR and the best barbecue in the world. And perhaps the biggest blessing of all is North Carolina’s proven wisdom in the selection of bishops, from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who “reminds us we’re disciples,” to Bishop Hodges-Copple and her “passion for mission and evangelism,” to the Rt. Rev. Gary Gloster, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina, retired, whom she called a “wise and faithful witness.”

“And now,” said Harris, “you have elected Sam Rodman to lead you and be a companion with you on this continuing journey.” She continued, “He is and will be a servant child of God with you, and who I know lives in and with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He seeks not only to abide in God with hope and faith and love for himself, but to offer that readily to others.”

After being presented the gifts of a stole, chasuble, liturgical vestments from the Diocese of Botswana, cope, pectoral cross, ring, mitre, crozier and the Holy Bible, Rodman followed the Peace with his thanks, saying, “Someone asked me this week if I would be a different person after today, and I said, no, I’ll be the same person, just with a bigger hat. But I feel like I have a bigger heart today….and it is that grateful heart that I offer to you, the people of North Carolina.”

Rodman spent his first Sunday in his new position visiting St. Mark’s and La Guadalupana, Wilson, where, before leading a bilingual service, he blessed the church’s new soccer fields nearby.

The weekend of celebration began July 14 with a clergy luncheon with the presiding bishop and a dinner honoring Rodman.

Prior to Rodman’s election, he served as the special projects officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, a tenure that began after 16 years as the rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Milton, Massachusetts. Following the election, Rodman and his wife of 32 years, Deborah, relocated to Raleigh.

The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina encompasses the 38 central counties of North Carolina and includes 50,000 congregants, 111 worshiping communities and 10 campus ministries.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaches in Zimbabwe at Mizeki festival

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:46am

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivered a sermon June 17 in Zimbabwe while attending an annual festival for the martyred 19th century missionary Bernard Mizeki. More than 15,000 pilgrims from across Central and Southern Africa attended the festival and heard Curry preach. You can watch video of the sermon below.


First ever meeting of Mexico’s ordained women

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:19am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Three quarters of the current women priests and deacons in the Anglican Church of Mexico have held a gathering to celebrate the ministry of ordained women in the province. It brought together 18 out of the province’s 25 ordained women for their first such meeting.  It took place in the city of Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos and consisted of prayer, education sessions, fellowship and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Read the full article here.

Delaware’s Episcopalians elect Kevin Brown as 11th bishop

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:16am

The Rev. Kevin S. Brown, rector of of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte, North Carolina, was elected July 15 as the 11th bishop of Delaware. Photo: Diocese of Delaware

[Episcopal Diocese of Delaware] Delaware’s Episcopalians on July 15 elected the Rev. Kevin S. Brown of Charlotte, North Carolina, as their 11th diocesan bishop.

Pending the canonically required consent of a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, Brown, currently rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte, will be ordained and consecrated on December 9 by Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. Delaware State University in Dover will be the site of the service.

He was elected on the fifth ballot, and clergy and lay delegates cheered the announcement. Brown received 65 votes in the lay order and 33 votes in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 52 lay votes and 32 clergy votes. The Rev. Patricia Downing of Wilmington, one of the five final candidates for bishop, moved that the election be declared unanimous.

Contacted at his home in Charlotte, Brown said he and his wife, Caroline, were following the balloting on Twitter while working on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle to distract them.

“It’s humbling and inspiring,” he said, describing his election as “a moment when time seemed to stand still.”

He quickly acknowledged the other four candidates on the slate. “I have heard time and time again that Delaware was graced with a remarkable slate of candidates,” he said, citing the “brilliance, energy and the spirit of all the candidates.”

Brown grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and studied mathematics and psychology at Duke University. He completed his M.B.A. while in the U. S. Air Force, worked in finance and marketing at FedEx, and launched an investment firm before his call to the priesthood.

At Holy Comforter, he led the merger of separate English and Spanish preschools into a single groundbreaking school focused on bilingual education and dedicated to access for low-income and immigrant families. He previously served as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Paris, Tennessee.

His education includes an M.B.A. from the University of West Florida and a Master of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary in New York City. His wife, Caroline, is an accomplished artist and they have two daughters in college in North Carolina.

Brown will succeed the Rt. Rev. Wayne P. Wright, who retired in February 2017. He will shepherd 9,300 Episcopalians in 34 congregations throughout Delaware. He also will serve as chief pastor to the diocese’s clergy and deacons and often takes a leadership role in social justice issues on a statewide level.

The search process began in the summer of 2016, with the appointment of lay and clergy search committee members. The Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, rector of St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church in Wilmington, and Steven Boyden of Christ Church Christiana Hundred in Wilmington, co-chaired the search committee. The search team considered more than 50 applicants who had responded to the diocesan profile.

The Rev. David Andrews, rector of Saints Andrew and Matthew in Wilmington, and Sue Taber of St. David’s in Wilmington, co-chaired the transition committee.

The other four candiates were:

The five candidates participated in three “walkabouts” throughout Delaware June 28-30, appearing before a congregation each evening to answer questions. About 600 people attended the three gatherings.

— Editor’s note: Episcopal News Service added background to this report.

Hong Kong cathedral hosts celebration of Anglican diocese

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 5:47pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] St John’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong Island, held a special service “Celebrating Hong Kong” this week to celebrate the “vibrancy, diversity and achievements of Hong Kong.” During the service, faith leaders and the chief executive of Hong Kong SAR took part in candle lighting and prayed that the city would be blessed with peace and love.

Full article.

As EYE17 closes, ‘peacemakers’ make a path home

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 4:46pm

More than 1,300 teenagers gathered as the sun was setting at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on July 12 for a candlelight vigil. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Edmond, Oklahoma] As the sun began to set July 12 on Oklahoma City, Episcopal youth assembled by diocese and processed from St. Paul’s Cathedral four blocks south on North Robinson Avenue to the Oklahoma City National Memorial for a candlelight vigil.

The vigil followed an earlier visit to the memorial’s museum, which traces the timeline beginning 30 minutes before the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and wounded 680 others, through the 2001 execution of Timothy McVeigh.

“The way that it’s set up, you move through time and it’s a stunning thing,” said Kiera Campbell, 16, an Episcopal Youth Event 2017 planning committee member from the Diocese of Olympia. “It’s amazing to see how a city pulled together and how a city was able to find peace in each other.”

Thirteen hundred youth from 90 of the Episcopal Church’s 109 dioceses attended the 13th annual Episcopal Youth Event from July 10 to 14 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, a 20-minute drive from downtown Oklahoma City. The Beatitudes, particularly Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called children of God,” – inspired EYE17’s theme, “Path to Peace.” (Absent were some youth from Province IX, the Latin America- and Caribbean-based dioceses, who were denied visas into the United States.)

Teenagers attending the Episcopal Youth Event 2017 in Edmond, Oklahoma, visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on July 12. Here, they visit the Gallery of Honor, where photos of the 168 people, including 19 children, hang on the walls. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The night before the museum visit and vigil, bombing survivors shared their personal experiences with the youth during an on-campus plenary session. During the candlelight vigil, the youth sat cross-legged on the grass opposite 168 empty chairs – 19 smaller chairs for children – representing each of the victims. A reflecting pool set between two pillars marked 9:01 and 9:03 isolated the minute, 9:02 a.m., that the truck bomb exploded, destroying the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

It was the history, but more importantly, the human response and its lasting impact that Oklahoma Bishop Ed Konieczny wanted the youth to experience. The bombing, he said, brought together the people of Oklahoma in a spirit of unity, in what became the “Oklahoma Standard,” that continues today.

“If you come to Oklahoma and you become an Oklahoman [the story] becomes a part of who you are because in many ways it was a huge turning point, not only for Oklahoma City but for the state,” said Konieczny, a priest in Texas at the time of the bombing. “It was an unfortunate way for things to go, but it energized and brought to light all the good of the people in Oklahoma City and Oklahoma… and it didn’t stop.”

Photos of the victims hang in the Gallery of Honor, the last exhibit, at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Even though the youth weren’t yet born in 1995 – they range in age from 13 to 18 – they live in an increasingly violent world. For that reason, Konieczny wanted to co-host EYE17 in his diocese and share Oklahoma City’s story as an example of peace and resilience.

“The event is relevant because it helps them see all of the other things that happen in our world and our society and the other incidences of violence that take place, Columbine or Virginia Tech or Florida. It seems like every day there is something else, some big, some minor,” he said. “I hope the story is that we as a society have to do something about this. And they have the ability to do that … The message of this is not going to be the bomb. The message of this is life, and that we are going to put our faith where our faith needs to be, and we are going to stand up for justice and say, no, we are not going to live this way, we’re going to do something different.”

Responding to violence and hatred with love was packed into the Path to Peace message.

“The reality is that hatred doesn’t work and violence doesn’t work. Human beings were made by love, because I believe that God is love, and we were made to love and life only works when we love. And this memorial is a painful reminder that hatred hurts and harms, and we weren’t made for that,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, at the site of the memorial. “We’ve been put on this earth to find a better way. To find life and love for everybody, and so coming to this memorial and being here this day is an opportunity to be reconsecrated and rededicated to creating a world where love rules.”

There was some fun at EYE17. Here, the Rev. Tim Schenck, left, rector of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, and the Rev. Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement, sit by while Sierra Palmer of the Diocese of Kansas casts a vote for one of two saints. Saint Quiteria defeated Saint Longinus, 72 percent to 28 percent, and will be included in Lent Madness 2018. The rest of the saints in next year’s bracket will be announced in November. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

A year ago, the 16-member EYE17 youth planning committee visited Oklahoma City and the museum and memorial, to get a sense of what their peers would experience. Immediately, it was clear that Oklahoma City’s story is one “everyone needs to hear,” Andres Gonzalez Bonilla, 16, of the Diocese of Arizona, who served on liturgy and music planning team. The city’s response to an act of domestic terrorism is a “tragic, but beautiful, moving story.”

“The EYE mission planning team started imaging what this event might be like over 18 months ago. They based the event in Matthew’s scripture and the Beatitudes,” said Bronwyn Clark Skov, the Episcopal Church’s director of formation, youth and young adults, who oversees youth ministry. “We are very much taken with that entire package, but also because of what has been happening in the world, we really honed in on ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’”

The triennial youth event, a mandate of the church’s General Convention, drew 1,400 people in all, including 35 bishops, as well as chaperones, chaplains, medical and other volunteers. Every preacher, speaker, exhibitor and praxis session presented the theme in one way or another.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached and presided during the opening Eucharist of EYE17. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Curry preached during the July 11 opening Eucharist and later that day offered two back-to-back workshops on the “Jesus Movement,” followed by a question-and-answer period. Other speakers, including President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, bishops, Episcopal Church staff members, representatives from Episcopal Relief & Development, Forma, Episcopal Service Corps and others, offered workshops ranging from advocacy to nonviolent communication in a violent world to living in intentional communities as a path to peace.

“I think that ‘Path to Peace’ has been articulated in many different ways during this event, and my hope is that it has been contagious enough so that when all of the young people who go home from this event start telling the story of what they experienced here and what they learned here that they will feel empowered to actually act upon their own good and right and God-gifted inclination to do something,” said Skov.

During a press conference on July 11, Trevor Mahan of the Diocese of Kansas, a member of the planning committee, said the youth intentionally designed the event to introduce youth to church leadership and the wider Episcopal Church, offering ways to engage further at all levels.

Mahan’s planning team colleague, Campbell, of the Diocese of Olympia, concurred.

“We want people to be able to go back home and connect with other Episcopal organizations,” she said, and bring back the Path to Peace message to encourage other youth to become involved.

Konieczny sees real hope in today’s young people, who are far more inclusive than previous generations. The makeup of EYE17, the most diverse group ever, attested to that.

“As I said during my homily at the vigil, today’s young people can make a real difference in the world,” he said.

“They are at that age now where they’re setting the stage for how their generation is going to live together, and you can already see the level of acceptance, inclusion and willingness to live in diversity and honor each other. And that’s not always been the case for generations that have gone before; it’s this is us, that’s them and let’s just keep our distance,” said Konieczny.

Plans for EYE20 are underway, and with the help of a Constable Fund grant, the Episcopal Church plans to hold the event in Latin America.

-Lynette Wilson is managing editor of Episcopal News Service.

RIP: The Rev. Reynolds Smith Cheney II, former General Convention committee chair

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:37am

[Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee] The Rev. Reynolds Smith Cheney II, longtime General Convention deputy and Convention committee chair, died July 10 after a lengthy illness.

He served for six years as a member of the Executive Council and chaired the State of the Church Committee at General Convention. He took particular satisfaction in coining the expression “the cutting middle” to describe the work of The Episcopal Church in this nation and around the world.

Known for his love and commitment to the church, Reynolds was an insightful theologian, preacher and teacher.  To these gifts for ministry, he brought both critical insights and a ribald wit. He served as a mentor and friend to the many persons who over the years served as his clergy associates and curates and to all who were blessed and entertained to be in his wide circle of friends.

Cheney was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1936 and received a bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College. He attended Episcopal Divinity School and was ordained as deacon by Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray in 1961 and priest by Bishop John M. Allin in December of that year. Cheney served in the Diocese of Mississippi at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Kosciusko; St. Mary’s Church, Lexington; Grace Church, Carrollton; St. Michael and All Angels, Amory; St. John’s Church, Aberdeen; Church of the Redeemer, Greenville, and St. James Church, Greenville. In The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, Cheney served as rector of Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis from 1981 to 2001, when at the time of his retirement he was the senior clergy member in the diocese.

In 1999, Cheney married his wife, Stephanie, a leader herself in the Episcopal Church, having served as lay canon for diocesan administration and finance for the Diocese of West Tennessee, as a member of the Executive Council of the church and currently as a member of the diocesan Standing Committee. Cheney is also survived by his children and grandchildren, who knew him simply as “Big Daddy.”

Bishop Don Johnson, recalling Cheney with deep respect and fondness, invites all to join in remembering Reynolds, Stephanie and their family with prayer and affection. The requiem Eucharist will be offered July 31, at Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis. Visitation will be in Cheney Parish Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the service will begin at 2 p.m., with interment following.

Podcast: Episcopal youth prepare to take ‘Path to Peace’ message home

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:45pm

Episcopal youth gathered for the July 13 plenary session. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Edmond, Oklahoma] On the eve of their departure from Oklahoma, 1,300 youth from across the Episcopal Church began strategizing about how they will take the “Path to Peace” message home.

Have a listen:

Anglican leaders offer support for communities displaced by Canadian wildfires

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 12:43pm

[Anglican Journal] As wildfires rage across British Columbia’s Central Interior, Anglican leaders in the region are doing what they can to support their communities, says Bishop Barbara Andrews of the Central Interior-based Territory of the People.

After weeks of hot, dry weather, the CBC reports that a lightning storm July 7 sparked the fires that have spread across the Central Interior, forcing thousands to leave their homes and causing the province to declare a state of emergency.

Of the 14,000 people who have been evacuated so far, Andrews estimates roughly 1,000 are Anglicans.

Full article.

Podcast: Episcopal youth visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 7:49pm

An EYE17 attendee explores an interactive exhibit during a July 12 visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum as a volunteer chaplain looks on. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] Episcopal youth attending the 13th annual Episcopal Youth Event took a field trip to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum on July 12. The memorial and museum honor the victims of the April 19, 1995, bombing and tells the story of that tragic day.

Have a listen.

Listen to day 1 here.

North Dakota bishop raises Maori flag as emblem of Anglican, Episcopal support for indigenous people

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 4:39pm

This Maori Anglican flag hangs in the office of North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, a gift to Smith from a Maori bishop in 2003. Aotearoa is the Maori word for New Zealand, meaning “land of the long white cloud.” Photo: Michael Smith

[Episcopal News Service] Bishop Michael Smith of the Diocese of North Dakota has carried with him for 14 years a tale of two flags and a piece of New Zealand’s indigenous history that he hopes will live on after he is gone.

Hanging in Smith’s office in Fargo is an Anglican flag of the Maori of New Zealand, a gift he received in 2003 when he was a member of an American delegation attending a meeting of the Anglican Indigenous Network in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Smith was a priest at the time, serving on an American Indian reservation in Minnesota. He was honored to receive the flag but only later learned its full significance – for the Maori, it is the rough equivalent of a flag carried by marchers in the American civil rights movement.

In 1998, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia organized the Hikoi of Hope, a nationwide march to Parliament that was joined by about 40,000 supporters of the indigenous people of New Zealand. The demonstration has been credited with advancing social justice issues in response to the legacy of colonial oppression in the country. The flag Smith received was one of the flags that had been carried by the marchers.

“I knew that it was a significant piece of history,” Smith told Episcopal News Service by phone, and he felt it belonged back in New Zealand. “But it was clear to refuse it would be insulting.”

As a symbol of progress made by native New Zealanders, Smith also holds the flag up as an emblem of the partnerships formed between Anglicans in Aotearoa (the Maori word for New Zealand) and Episcopalians in the United States, as well as the church’s responsibility to advocate for social justice.

“I don’t want it to end up in someone’s office forever,” Smith said. “I want people to know the story and where it really belongs.”

The story of the flag’s march into history began in September 1998. The month-long Hikoi of Hope across the country ended Oct. 1 in Wellington, where the stories of indigenous people’s hardships were delivered to New Zealand’s Parliament.

“The Hikoi called on government to show some leadership and acknowledge poverty as systemic, and exacerbated by benefit cuts, increased rents for state housing, student loans and more,” according to “Tangata Whenua,” a history of New Zealand’s Maori written by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Aroha Harris. “The Anglican Church’s concern for the poor and disempowered endured, with Maori clergy at both the fore and in the support base of Maori social justice projects.”

Hikoi is a Maori word meaning “walk” or “march.” At the time, the Anglican Church in New Zealand was in the process of giving more autonomy to Maori and Polynesian clergy by raising them up to greater leadership roles, and the Hikoi of Hope mirrored those efforts while putting pressure on the government.

“It kind of put social justice back on the agenda,” said Bishop Don Tamihere of the Tikanga Maori Diocese of Tairawhiti.

Bishop Don Tamihere speaks June 23 during a business session of the Niobrara Convocation at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

Tamihere spoke with Episcopal New Service in June while attending the Episcopal Church’s Niobrara Convocation in South Dakota. Tamihere, who was ordained and consecrated as bishop in March, said he was attending theological college in 1998 and participated in the Hikoi of Hope.

By that time, New Zealand’s Anglican province was operating on its present three-partner structure that allows Maori, Polynesians and white New Zealanders to “order their affairs within their own cultural context,” the church explains on its website. In 1998, the Maori dioceses were overseen by Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, who in 2004 would become the first Maori to serve as primate and archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Vercoe played host in 2003 when the Anglican Indigenous Network gathered in Rotorua. Members of each delegation were invited to bring flags that represented their native cultures.

Smith, a member of the Potawatomi tribe, is originally from Oklahoma, and he chose to bring that state’s flag, which features the battle shield of an Osage warrior and other Native American icons. The flag made an impression on Vercoe.

“For some reason, he really liked that, he was really drawn to that,” Smith said.

Vercoe asked if he could have Smith’s Oklahoma flag, and Smith gladly offered it. Then Vercoe gave Smith his Maori Anglican flag.

Bishop Michael Smith, rear left, was part of an Episcopal Church delegation to the 2003 meeting of the Anglican Indigenous Network in New Zealand. Smith was a priest in Minnesota at the time. Maori Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe is shown standing in the center in a red shirt. Photo courtesy of Carol Gallagher.

In 2008, after Smith had become bishop of the Diocese of North Dakota, he met the Maori bishops at that year’s Lambeth Conference, and they underscored the flag’s significance but said it would be improper to return such a gift. They suggested, however, that it may be proper to arrange for the flag to be returned to the Maori after Smith’s and Vercoe’s deaths, which is what Smith will do. (Vercoe died in 2007.)

Back in the United States, Smith occasionally brought the flag to certain events and shared its story to emphasize the common struggle of native people across the world.

“There are many issues that are similar for all indigenous people,” Smith said, from the history of colonialism to the experience of living as minorities in one’s homeland to struggles with poverty.

Seeking advancement of Native Americans in society and within the church has been a longtime goal of the Episcopal Church, stemming from the Baptismal Covenant’s call to strive for justice and respect the dignity of all human beings, said the Rev. Bradley S. Hauff, Episcopal Church missioner for indigenous ministries.

“Our indigenous brothers and sisters are all over the world, and that extends to the Anglican Communion and the church in New Zealand,” Hauff told Episcopal News Service. “Relationships like this, like Bishop Smith experienced, I think, are terribly important for us to establish and to honor and celebrate.”

The 145th Niobrara Convocation fostered such connections, as it has nearly every year since 1870. The gathering of Sioux Episcopalians drew several hundred people June 22 to 25 to the tiny Christ Episcopal Church at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, including Bishops Smith and Tamihere.

Tamihere attended with a six-person Maori delegation as part of a youth missionary group that travels to Red Shirt each year to work on community projects. Smith told Tamihere the story of receiving the flag from Vercoe, and Tamihere agreed that it would be improper for Smith to return such a gift during his lifetime.

But that conversation reminded Smith that he should take the flag out more and share its story with people he meets.

“If I can’t give it back now, I don’t want it to get lost somewhere in history,” Smith said.

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