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Prayer books, Bibles, crucifixes – and juniper ash

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 6:38pm

Paula Elmore, left, assists Alice Holinger, deputy from Alaska, as she shops for Navajoland products. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Stroll the corridors of the sprawling exhibits hall at the 79thGeneral Convention here and you’ll find nativity sets, crucifixes, prayer books, Bibles, spiritual treatises, scarves made in Jerusalem, teddy bears, promotions for trips to the Holy Land, Episcopal flip-flops (really), neckties, coffee mugs, T-shirts – and juniper ash.

Paula Elmore of Shima’ of Navajoland. Photo: Mike Patterson/Episcopal News Service

Juniper ash?

“Our ancestors didn’t have cows,” explained Paula Elmore, a Navajo and Episcopalian from Fort Defiance, Arizona. “They told us to burn ash, sift it and mix it with blue corn meal to make mush or cornbread. That’s where we got our calcium.”

(Juniper is a coniferous tree with leaves like needles and tiny cones like berries. One teaspoon of ash from juniper leaves equals the calcium found in one glass of milk.)

Elmore is affiliated with Shima’ of Navajoland (https://shimaofnavajoland.com/), a social enterprise of the Episcopal Church of Navajoland. “Our honey makes you buzz with joy” promises a sign welcoming visitors to the Shima’ booth in the exhibits hall.

Their honey is organic, Elmore said, and comes “right from the hives.” Sometimes it also comes with a bee, but that’s picked out before it ends up in a honey jar.

If juniper ash isn’t your cup of tea, Shima’ also offers varieties of soap, including a prickly pear variety, sunflower seeds, and pinion cones, complete with sap. “Put them in your fireplace and it will smell like a pine tree,” Elmore said.

Speaking of tea, if a bishop or deputy suffers from a headache or upset tummy, they can try Navajo tea. “Our ancestors used it like aspirin or for a stomachache,” Elmore explained. It’s made from a plant (Thelesperma) that grows wild in Navajoland and “tastes a little earthy. We use the entire plant, from the root to the flower.”

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Shima’ of Navajoland is part of the Good Shepherd Mission and Episcopal Church in Navajoland, a region that stretches over 27,000 square miles in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest.

Based at Fort Defiance, Good Shepherd was originally started as a medical mission to the Navajos in the 1880s. Today, it encompasses 50 acres, a large organic/permaculture garden incorporating Navajo techniques and a dozen buildings that serve as a retreat center and destination for mission trips.

The mission also includes two far-flung outlying parishes in Coalmine, New Mexico, and Many Farms, Arizona. Although the Navajo Reservation has a population of more than 350,000, only about 1,000 are Episcopalians.

“We are Navajo farmers, soap makers, herb gatherers, medicine men and women,” according to Shima’s website. “We take the best of our ancient traditions and create hozho’ (beauty and harmony) through our farm and wild-gathered products.”

Elmore has done a bit of everything herself. “Beekeeper, soap maker, I’ve planted herbs and ground the blue corn,” she said.

Earth-based products aren’t the only items Elmore features from Navajoland.

Navajo women gather to craft colorful hand-made stoles. Elmore says she’s done a brisk business selling them to clergy. She also has hand-made silver crucifixes, an earring and bracelet set adorned with beads, and delicate necklaces decorated with tiny hummingbirds.

Shima’ says it adheres to the principles of social justice and environmental sustainability: “The way we farm, gather, create and live is to protect the precious: to protect our children, our water, our land and our sacred way of life.”

Patricia Worthington of Cave Creek, Arizona, has been visiting Navajoland on mission trips for 11 years but about nine months ago started mentoring Shima’ to help develop its business.

Worthington urges churches to consider purchasing Shima’ products to sell in their gift shops, holiday bazaars or church coffee shops. “It’s a win, win, win situation,” she explained. “You get a good product, you’re helping support Navajoland and your profits can help fund your own outreach programs,” she said.

Don’t know what to order for your church?  Contact Shima’ and “we’ll walk them through the ordering process,” she said. “We don’t want churches to over order.”

The word shima’ conveys the concept that it “is our mother, the earth created in beauty,” or hozho’, and “infuses all of life with blessing.”

– Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.

General Convention moves one step closer toward sacramental marriage equality

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 5:56pm

California Deputy Christopher Hayes explains his floor amendment to Resolution B012 during debate on July 9. Hayes is wearing purple in honor of Purple Scarf Day, calling for more women in the episcopate. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Deputies overwhelming endorsed a heavily amended resolution July 9 aimed at ensuring that all Episcopalians can be married by their priests in their home churches.

Resolution B012, a carefully crafted compromise that its final proposers hope will be accepted by both houses of convention, gives full access to two trial-use marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples approved by the 2015 meeting of General Convention (via Resolution A054).

The deputies voted by orders and the results were:

* Clergy: 96 yes, 10 no, 4 divided
* Lay: 97 yes, 8 no, 5 divided.

Fifty-six votes in each order were required for passage. Divided votes are recorded when the clergy or lay members of a deputation split their votes between yes and no.

The resolution, as passed by deputies, provides for:

  • giving rectors or clergy in charge of a congregation the ability to provide access to the trial-use of the marriage rites for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Resolution A054-2015 and the original version of B012 said that clergy could only use the rites under the direction of their bishop.
  • requiring that if a bishop “holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples” he or she may another bishop, if necessary, to provide “pastoral support” to any couple desiring to use the rites, as well as to the clergy member and congregation involved. In any case, an outside bishop must be asked to take requests for remarriage if either member of the couple is divorced to fulfill a canonical requirement that applies to opposite-sex couples.
  • continuing trial use of the rites until the completion of the next comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer.

A House of Deputies page collects the written version of the Diocese of Southern Virginia’s vote by orders on Resolution B012. During votes by orders deputies vote on paper ballots, deputations calculate the results and then cast the deputation’s vote electronically. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

The resolution also eliminated the original B012’s call for a “Task Force on Communion across Difference.” Formation of such a group is now being proposed in a new resolution, A227.

California Deputy Christopher Hayes, whose floor amendment formed the basis of the version of B012 that the house adopted, told the deputies during debate that he led an effort to craft a compromise that provides equal access to the marriage rites while protecting the conscience of those who object to same-sex marriage. In addition, he said, the amendment makes clear that the canonical authority to use the liturgies rests with the rector or other clergy in charge of a congregation.

“Our tradition had long recognized that the rector has the authority to use any liturgy authorized by General Convention,” he said.

Hayes suggested that convention could do nothing less but honor both the consciences of those bishops who refuse to approve use of the rites “and the needs of same-sex couples for an equal place in this church.”

Debate on the resolution, which spread over two days, was at times passionate and at others sober.

The Rev. Calvin Sanborn, deputy from Maine, told the house July 8 that he has performed many marriages in the last three years, many of them for same-sex couples. Some were young people “just beginning their journey together,” and he has solemnized the marriages of “many, many couples who have been together for decades and are finally able to have their loving relationships affirmed by the church.”

“These are not just parishioners who came to the church to be married in a beautiful place and then simply disappear, as is often the case in a coastal Maine church,” he said. “These are faithful couples who have not only committed their lives to each other, but also to Christ and to the work of God in the world.”

Sanborn said he supported B012 as a compromise, although he longs for a time when marriage for same-sex couples will be included in the Book of Common Prayer and “no longer be second class.”

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

The Rev. Susan Russell, Los Angeles deputy and long-time leader in the effort for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church, supported B012 because it “will move us beyond the seemingly intractable challenge of living together as a church where the sacrament of marriage has been authorized for all couples in the Episcopal Church is irreconcilable with the theological consciences of some members of the Episcopal Church.”

Russell told the deputies that they should be clear that the resolution contains “costly compromises that come with very real pain.” Some will be pained by a resolution she said falls short of giving “full and equal claim” to all the sacraments to baptized LBGTQ persons. Others will “experience this action as a bridge too far away.” The question the convention faces, she said, is “whether the gift of walking together into God’s future as members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement is worth the painful compromises we are mutually being asked to bear.”

The next speaker, Dallas Deputy William Murchison, vehemently disagreed, saying the convention was being asked to “throw out a historic Christian understanding and supplant it with a new one, untested, unproved, but now, all of the sudden, necessary to be believed and practiced.”

Murchison said despite “all this cloudy talk of love … you don’t achieve love with a hammer, you don’t achieve love with a club. You achieve it with open arms and open heart and open minds.”  Assuming no one else is right and that it’s “my way or the highway” is “not Christian, it’s not even Episcopalian.”

Albany Deputy Mary Jones tell the House of Deputies July 9 that Resolution B012 will divide the church. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ Episcopal News Service

Deputy Mary Jones of Albany agreed, saying that such a compromise was, indeed, too much “and would not serve our church well.” Passing B012 will “ultimately lead us to division” because of its underlying difference in the interpretation of Scripture.

B012 began in response to Resolution A085 from General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, proposed in part to find a way for Episcopalians in eight dioceses of the church’s 101 domestic dioceses in which the diocesan bishop refuses to authorize their use.

A085 would have required bishops to make provision for all couples asking to be married to have “reasonable and convenient access” to the two trial-use marriage rites. However, A085 would also add the two trial-use marriage rites to the Book of Common Prayer and amend the prayer book’s other marriage rites, prefaces and sections of the Catechism to make language gender neutral. That change was a sticking point for many,

Five Province IX diocesan bishops and one retired bishop objected, and warned the task force in a statement that if convention makes changes about marriage that would force them “to accept social and cultural practices that have no biblical basis or acceptance in Christian worship,” the action would “greatly deepen the breach, the division and the Ninth Province will have to learn to walk alone.” The bishops of Colombia and Puerto Rico, also dioceses in Province IX, did not sign the statement.

T[he version of the statement sent to the task force included the names of the bishops who were representing the dioceses of Ecuador Littoral, Ecuador Central, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Honduras. However, since then Victor Scantlebury, the acting bishop of Ecuador Central, has said he did not sign the statement.]

Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, together with Pittsburgh Bishop Dorsey McConnell and Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely, proposed B012 the week before convention as an alternative.

The original B012 would have continued trial use of the two trial-use marriage rites without a time limit and without seeking a revision of the prayer book. The resolution proposed that access to the liturgies be provided for in all dioceses. However, in dioceses in which the bishop will not authorize the rights, congregations wishing to use them could request and would receive Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) from another bishop of the church who would provide access to the liturgies.

The pastoral oversight called for in the amended B012 is not DEPO, according to Hayes. The DEPO process, which is not part of the canons of the church, is meant only for congregations whose relationship with the bishop is broken on all levels. Not all congregations wishing to use the rites are in that level of conflict with their bishop, he said.

After two hearings on A085 and B012 on July 5, the committee crafted a new version of the latter resolution. It was that version that Hayes moved to amend to clarify several points.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

Anti-death penalty resolution builds on church’s advocacy in wake of Arkansas executions

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 5:56pm

The Rev. Allison Liles, executive director of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, testifies July 9 in favor of an anti-death penalty resolution before General Convention’s domestic policy committee at the JW Marriott hotel.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Arkansas’ decision to schedule eight executions in 10 days last year drew intense national scrutiny, sparked a sudden re-examination of the death penalty and served as a catalyst to a resolution before the 79th General Convention seeking to build on the Episcopal Church’s longtime advocacy on the issue.

Resolution D077 was submitted by the Rev. Bob Davidson, a deputy from Colorado and national chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. It reaffirms the church’s position in favor of abolishing the death penalty, calls for all death row inmates’ sentences to be reduced, orders letters to that effect be sent to all governors of states where the death penalty is legal and enlists bishops in those states to take up greater advocacy.

Davidson, a member of the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee, testified in favor of his resolution at the committee’s open hearing on July 9. He noted the Episcopal Church first took a stand in favor of abolishing the death penalty in 1958.

“The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has continued to maintain this as one of its strongest priorities, carrying the banner of the dignity and sanctity of life for all persons,” Davidson said. “This resolution gives teeth” to past General Convention resolutions.

Davidson, in an interview with Episcopal News Service after the meeting, explained how the resolution developed in reaction to the Arkansas executions of April 2017. Episcopal Peace Fellowship was part of a network of faith-based organizations and activists at the local level that mobilized prayer vigils, social media campaigns and demonstrations in response to those executions.

Only four of the eight scheduled executions were carried out, though the explanation to Resolution D077 notes the death penalty remains legal in 31 states and more than 3,000 inmates are awaiting execution in the United States.

Davidson told ENS this issue overlaps with the Episcopal Church’s work on racial reconciliation, given the disproportionate number of prisoners who are black men.

“There’s no more glaring symbol of racism in our country than to look on death row and just look at the executions of black men in our country,” Davidson said.

The Rev. Allison Liles, executive director of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, also spoke in favor of the resolution at the open hearing on July 9, emphasizing cases of death row exonerations and singling out General Convention’s host state of Texas. The state has executed 552 people since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, far more than any other state, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Liles also noted how this resolution goes beyond prior resolutions on the issue to direct the secretary of General Convention to send letters to the governors of death penalty states specifically seeking sentence reductions of those condemned to death or case reviews for possible exonerations.

“We as human beings are more than our worst sin. We as human beings are capable of redemption,” Liles said. “The death penalty is failed, ineffective, it’s expensive and it’s a policy that’s defined by racial and economic bias.

“We’ve been speaking out against it for 60 years, and now we need to speak on behalf of the people who are living on death row and encourage the governors to commute their sentences to life in prison.”

Marti Hunt, a deputy with the Diocese of New Hampshire, also testified in favor of the resolution.

“We’re calling on governors to step up,” Hunt said. “A lot of them self-identify as Christians, and we want them to recognize that they are responsible for the lives of all the citizens in their jurisdictions.”

Atlanta Bishop Robert Wright, speaking with ENS during a break in the committee meeting, echoed Hunt’s comments about appealing directly to governors’ faith, because a lot of politicians “use their Christianity when it’s convenient politically.” Christianity speaks to the dignity of all humans, including those behind bars, said Wright, a member of the committee who has been active in advocating against the death penalty in Georgia.

“I’m glad that we are remembering our commitment as the Episcopal Church to facilitate the abolition of the death penalty,” Wright said when asked about Resolution D077. “We need people to take that energy that was put into these resolutions and take it back home.”

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

Committee sends to deputies a resolution to admit Cuba as a diocese

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 5:39pm

The morning’s heavy rain didn’t stop supporters of the Episcopal Church in Cuba from attending the Episcopal Church in Cuba Committee’s final open hearing on July 9. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The Episcopal Church in Cuba moved a resolution calling on General Convention to admit the Cuban church, restoring a half-century breach in formal relations.

The committee sent Resolution A238, which lays out the terms for reunification, to the House of Deputies legislative calendar. It has not yet been scheduled for the floor.

Previously, the committee struggled with constitutional and canonical questions regarding whether or not convention had the power to act to bring in an existing Anglican Communion diocese and a bishop. It was during a July 7 hearing that it decided to write A238, this time calling for the 79th General Convention to admit the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba to the Episcopal Church during this convention.

The resolution recognizes that Article V, Section 1 of the constitution “does not expressly provide for creation of a new Diocese from an existing Anglican Communion Diocese, neither does it expressly limit or forbid General Convention from doing so.”

The committee based its reasoning in part on Resolution 1976-D004, an amendment to the White & Dykman Annotated Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, which established that “all power is in the General Convention which the constitution itself does not limit.”

The resolution calls for $400,000 for support of the Cuban church’s ongoing mission and interim body to accompany the two churches through their transition to re-unification and $50,000 to fund that work.

An early morning heavy rainstorm did not prevent people from showing up for the final open hearing of committee on the Episcopal Church in Cuba.

The Very Rev. Jose Angel Gutierrez, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Havana, expressed gratitude for the committee’s support of Cuban clergy, who, if the resolution passes, will be eligible to participate in the International Clergy Pension Plan administered by the Church Pension Fund.

He also said, in Spanish through an interpreter, that by attending General Convention and the committee meetings he had learned a lot of about democracy and the church’s role in society. And he said it’s also become clear that reason can drown out the message of love, referring to the debate over the constitution and canons.

“I understand that we need laws and norms for the church to function, but not at the expense of love,” he said.

In his testimony and later in a conversation with Episcopal News Service the Rev. Roberto Maldonado, Latino missioner in the Diocese of Oregon and an alternate deputy to convention, said it’s important to know that it wasn’t Cuba’s decision to separate from the Episcopal Church in the 1960s. By readmitting the Cuban church, the Episcopal Church can set an example for other mainline denominations, such as United Methodists and Presbyterians, who also separated, he said.

The resolution also laments the action taken to separate the Episcopal Church from the Cuban church in 1966 by the House of Bishops in response to the geopolitics of the time.

The House of Bishops took its action in 1966 in response to the effects of the Cuban Revolution and the United States’ response. The Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro, began in 1953 and lasted until President Fulgencio Batista was forced from power in 1959. Batista’s anti-communist, authoritarian government was replaced with a socialist state, which in 1965 aligned itself with the communist party.

Formerly a missionary district, the Episcopal Church of Cuba is an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council is chaired by the primates of the Anglican churches of Canada, the West Indies and the Episcopal Church. The council has overseen the church in Cuba since it separated from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 1967.

In 1961, Episcopal schools in Cuba had been closed and appropriated, and many clergy and their families were displaced. Some remained in Cuba; some either returned or immigrated to the United States. Some clergy who remained in Cuba were imprisoned, executed, or disappeared. Church buildings were closed and left to deteriorate. The church was polarized politically, and its clergy and lay leaders suffered. But the church continued in the living rooms of the grandmothers, who held prayer services and Bible studies in their homes. Through them is transmitted a story of pain, and of faith.

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence beginning in 1901. Today, there are some 46 congregations and missions serving 10,000 members and the wider communities. During the 1960s, Castro’s government began cracking down on religion, jailing religious leaders and believers, and it wasn’t until Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Cuba, the first ever visit by a Roman Catholic pope to the island, that the government began a move back toward tolerance of religion.

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

Committee forwards three forceful immigration resolutions for votes by bishops, deputies

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:32pm

The Rev. Devon Anderson, deputy from Minnesota, and Julia Ayala Harris, deputy from Oklahoma, stand outside the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, before a prayer service July 8. Photo: House of Deputies News

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] And then there were three – three immigration-related resolutions from the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee, including two that were taken off consent calendars and will be open for discussion in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies at the 79th General Convention.

The three resolutions combine parts of several resolutions on immigration into broad, forceful statements on the issues of separation of families in immigrant detention, the sanctuary church movement and the dignity of immigrants in the face of federal policies that, deputies and bishops say, go against the Episcopal Church’s Christian values.

In some cases, the resolutions deliberately point backward to resolutions passed by previous General Conventions, both to underscore the church’s ongoing engagement with these issues and to highlight recent government policies that have given Episcopalians a new sense of urgency.

“Much of the work we were asked to do was essentially reaffirming the work of past General Conventions,” Daniel Valdez, a deputy from the Diocese of Los Angeles and committee member, said July 9 during deliberations on the resolutions. “Sadly, our voices haven’t been loud enough where a change has been made.”

The committee’s votes to move these resolutions to full legislative consideration comes a day after more than 1,000 bishops, deputies and other Episcopalians traveled by the busload and carload to a prayer vigil held outside an immigrant detention facility a little more than a half hour from Austin. The vigil on July 8 was organized to engage in prayerful witness to the plight of immigrant parents and children who have been separated from each other after being detained under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

The administration’s decision to separate children from their parents in detention caused a national uproar in the spring, prompting President Donald Trump to issue an executive order to keep families together when they are arrested on the border, though the status of those families in detention remains an ongoing debate.

Resolution A178 specifically condemns such treatment of women and children in unambiguous language.

“The U.S. government’s intensification of and implementation of punitive immigration policies and practices, such as the detention and separation of children from parents and the practice of housing children in military bases, is inhumane and unjust, and only serves to traumatize the vulnerable, especially women and children,” the resolution says before urging the Office of Government Relations and all Episcopalians to advocate for those families.

The Rev. Brian Chace, a deputy from Eastern Michigan and member of the domestic policy committee, argued for moving the resolution forward without amendment, citing the acute crisis, the need to stand with the children and the resolution’s prominent proposer – the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president.

The committee agreed and voted in favor of A178 without amendment.

A trickier discussion followed on resolutions relating to providing sanctuary to immigrants. Resolution C009, “Becoming a Sanctuary Church,” was amended to incorporate elements of the related Resolution C018. Concern was raised about legal issues congregations might face under the banner of “sanctuary.”

Bishop Suffragan Anne Hodges-Copple of the Diocese of North Carolina, chair of the bishops’ committee, reassured the committee that the goal of the resolution is to foster within the church a greater spirit of welcome to immigrants.

“I’m some parts, ‘sanctuary’ gets equated with harboring,” Hodges-Copple said, and some churches will choose to provide or will continue to provide a physical sanctuary for immigrants facing deportation. But she also hoped the church will see the broader sense of sanctuary and reach out to immigrants in ways that are appropriate for each congregation.

That resolution and the third immigration resolution to clear the committee were added to the legislative calendar, meaning the two houses won’t be able to approve them quickly as part of the daily lists of consent resolutions.

“Sorry, Gay,” Jane Freeman, a deputy from Ohio, said in a reference to Jennings, who was not present at the committee meeting but had told the House of Deputies a day earlier “the consent calendar is our friend.”

The Rev. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, introduces a video about the agency’s refugee resettlement work before the Social Justice and U.S. Policy Committee takes up immigration resolutions on July 9 at the JW Marriott hotel in Austin, Texas. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

The resolution Freeman was discussing, C033, on respecting the dignity of immigrants, now incorporates elements of C001, immigration enforcement; C002, the DREAM Act; D001, residency status of Haitians, and D015, keeping families together.

The committee also bulked up the amended resolution with additional references to past actions taken by General Convention.

“What we wanted to be sure was there was a historical precedent going back to 2009 dealing with these immigration issues,” Freeman said. A 2009 resolution, for example, called for comprehensive immigration reform, a goal that Congress appears no closer to achieving nine years later.

The resolutions are expected to go to the House of Bishops first. The timing is not yet clear.

Resolution C033, in particular, generated quite a bit of testimony at an open hearing on immigration on July 7, possibly because it covers such a broad swath of the issue while also identifying specific avenues for advocacy.

“I call upon my church, our church, to do what is right for immigrants,” the Rev. Roberto Maldonado, a priest and deputy for the Diocese Oregon, testified at the hearing. Maldonado was one of about 25 people to speak about the various immigration resolutions.

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

79e convention générale de l’Église épiscopale – Propos inauguraux de l’évêque primat Michael Curry

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:28pm

Mgr Curry a tenu ces propos lors de la session inaugurale de la 79e convention générale le 4 juillet :

July 5, 2018

Merci, merci ! Que Dieu vous aime, merci !

Ce bruit me rappelle celui des fidèles en train de s’agenouiller dans l’église…

Merci Canon Barlowe, et merci à vous tous qui êtes là, pour votre empressement à servir de cette manière. À servir la cause de notre seigneur Jésus-Christ en tant qu’Église épiscopale. Ou mieux, en tant que branche épiscopale du Mouvement de Jésus.

C’est véritablement un privilège et une bénédiction d’être votre évêque primat. C’est un privilège et une bénédiction de travailler avec des serviteurs de Jésus à la personnalité remarquable. Le président Gay Clark Jennings, président de notre Maison des députés. Canon Michael Barlowe, que j’appelle toujours monsieur le Secrétaire. C’est un privilège de travailler avec eux. J’ai déclaré à plusieurs reprises, lors d’assemblées provinciales, que je passe tellement de temps avec eux que je me sens comme John-Boy dans le feuilleton télévisé des Walton. Vous vous souvenez comment, avant d’aller se coucher, ils se disaient « Bonne nuit M’man, bonne nuit P’pa, bonne nuit John-Boy ». Eh bien moi, le soir, je dis simplement « Bonne nuit Michael, bonne nuit Gay ». C’est une bénédiction et un privilège de travailler avec eux et avec l’extraordinaire équipe de l’Église épiscopale, et ce n’est pas une simple formule convenue. Nous avons des personnes formidables au sein de cette équipe. C’est irréfutable, et voyez, une colombe prend son envol pour le confirmer. C’est pourquoi il est si bon d’être ici, et j’espère qu’il en est de même pour vous tous !

Permettez-moi de vous faire part de quelques pensées tandis que nous commençons. Il ne s’agit pas d’un sermon (il est un peu tôt pour vous tous pour commencer cela), mais d’un texte qui m’a interpellé, il se trouve dans I Corinthiens 2. Voici ce qu’écrit l’apôtre Paul :

     Moi-même, quand je suis venu chez vous, frères, ce n’est pas avec le prestige de la parole ou de la sagesse que je suis venu vous annoncer le mystère de Dieu. Car j’ai décidé de ne rien savoir parmi vous, sinon Jésus Christ, et Jésus Christ crucifié.

Julia Ward Howe a exprimé un sentiment similaire lorsqu’elle a écrit

     Dans la beauté des lys

     Christ est né de l’autre côté de l’océan

     Avec dans sa poitrine la gloire

     Qui nous transfigure vous et moi ;

     Comme il est mort pour rendre les hommes saints,

     Vivons pour rendre les hommes libres,

     Tandis que Dieu est en marche.

     Gloire ! Gloire ! Alléluia ! Sa vérité est en marche.

En réalité, nous ne sommes pas simplement l’Église épiscopale.

Même si c’est ce que nous sommes.

Nous sommes en réalité la branche épiscopale du Mouvement de Jésus.

Un mouvement qui a débuté il y a très longtemps. Un mouvement dont les racines s’enfoncent profondément dans le terrain du judaïsme. Un mouvement au plus profond du cœur de Dieu.

Voilà qui nous sommes. Et plus nous serons ce que nous sommes, plus nous verrons de choses se concrétiser, au-delà même de ce que nous pourrions demander ou imaginer.

J’ai réalisé cela il n’y a pas très longtemps. C’était à Seattle, dans l’État de Washington, lors d’une visite dans le diocèse d’Olympia. Certains d’entre vous savent peut-être que Seattle est la patrie de Starbucks. Et la toute première boutique Starbucks, celle des origines – vous connaissez tous Starbucks ? Cette toute première boutique Starbucks est toujours là, vous pouvez y aller. Alors je me suis dit que je devrais faire un pèlerinage. Je m’étais rendu à la cathédrale, alors j’ai pensé qu’il fallait aussi que j’aille à la cathédrale du monde séculier, et je suis allé chez Starbucks. Le Starbucks originel. J’étais déjà allé dans des boutiques Starbucks un peu partout, mais je n’étais jamais allé dans le Starbucks originel. Je suis entré et j’ai commandé mon grand noir habituel en ajoutant : « et je prendrai un muffin ». Le serveur m’a répondu très poliment : « Nous ne servons rien à manger ici. Nous ne servons que du café et des cocktails. » J’ai répondu : « Oh, c’est le vrai Starbucks ». Et je me suis souvenu d’avoir lu Onward [en français, Comment Starbucks a sauvé sa peau sans perdre son âme] d’Howard Schultz. Dans cet ouvrage autobiographique, il relate l’époque où la chaîne Starbucks s’était considérablement développée dans le pays et dans le monde entier, augmentant non seulement le nombre de ses boutiques, mais faisant aussi évoluer une offre qui s’était diversifiée, développée et accrue. Il nous explique que tout allait bien, mais que soudainement leur part de marché semblait amorcer un déclin alors qu’ils étaient en expansion. Soudainement, leurs profits semblaient diminuer ou ne pas croître aussi rapidement qu’ils auraient dû, et ils ont commencé à se demander si quelque chose n’allait pas dans leur croissance et leur expansion. Dans son livre, Schultz explique qu’il s’est rendu dans une boutique Starbucks et qu’en y entrant il a réalisé que l’odeur du fromage gratiné l’emportait sur celle du café. Il a alors réalisé que la chaîne Starbucks s’était écartée du bon chemin, en oubliant ses racines, sa source, sa mission originelle et le cœur d’activité qui lui avait en premier lieu donné naissance et vie. Il s’est dit que si l’on va chez Starbucks et que la première chose qu’on sent c’est du fromage en train de griller, quelque chose ne va pas ! Notre activité, c’est le café ! Et savez-vous ce qu’ils ont fait ? Ils ont fermé – c’était en 2008 – ils ont fermé tous les magasins Starbucks. Ils les ont tous fermés, et ils ont envoyé tous les serveurs en formation pour leur réapprendre à faire du bon café et à susciter un contexte propice aux échanges humains.

Mes frères et mes sœurs, notre activité ce n’est pas le fromage gratiné. Notre activité, c’est le café. Et le nom de ce café, c’est Jésus de Nazareth ! Voilà notre activité !

Et plus nous sommes proches de nos racines, de notre source, de la source de notre vie elle-même, de la source de notre identité, de la raison pour laquelle nous sommes là, plus nous sommes proches de tout cela, plus grande sera notre force pour les jours à venir. Nous trouverons la sagesse, le courage et la créativité nécessaires pour aborder ce moment historique actuel.

Si je vous dis cela, c’est pour que vous compreniez que le Mouvement de Jésus n’est pas une invention de Michael Curry. Le Mouvement de Jésus date d’il y a longtemps. Les érudits bibliques nous ont longuement décrit les premiers jours de la chrétienté, c’est-à-dire la toute première origine du Mouvement de Jésus. Il s’agissait alors de personnes se rassemblant autour de Jésus de Nazareth pour écouter ses enseignements. Ceci n’est pas un sermon, c’est une présentation – mais quiconque a écouté ses enseignements, l’a vu vivre, s’est imprégné de son esprit, et son esprit a commencé à devenir leur esprit – c’est ce que nous appelons la Pentecôte.

Son esprit est devenu leur esprit. Ils se sont mis à aimer comme Jésus aime, à donner comme Jésus donne, à pardonner comme Jésus pardonne, pratiquant la justice, aimant la miséricorde et marchant humblement avec Dieu, tout comme Jésus ! Ceux qui les observaient ont vu cela et ont dit : « Vous ressemblez à de petit Christs ». Et ils les ont appelés chrétiens.

Chers frères et sœurs, nous ne sommes pas seulement l’Église épiscopale. Nous sommes la branche épiscopale du Mouvement de Jésus. Voilà qui nous sommes. Et c’est ce que le monde implore et désire ardemment que nous soyons.

Mais je serai bref.

Oui, président Jennings, vous souhaitez dire quelque chose ? Oui, je vais être bref ! Promis !

Julia Ward Howe figure parmi mes personnalités favorites. Vous vous souvenez peut-être qu’elle a composé ce poème qui est devenu plus tard l’Hymne de bataille de la République au cours d’un cauchemar national, au beau milieu de la Guerre civile. Alors que cette nation écartelée s’entre-déchirait. Alors que cette nation s’efforçait de trouver sa propre âme en libérant les captifs C’était dans le contexte d’un profond déséquilibre, de temps difficiles, de temps où les vertus et valeurs mêmes du pays étaient en jeu, ce qui ne diffère guère de notre époque ! Un temps où notre nation, un temps où le monde doit retrouver son âme. Et c’est alors qu’elle a écrit les mots qui sont devenus l’Hymne de bataille. Mais elle a écrit dans cet hymne un couplet souvent négligé qui parle du retour du Seigneur. Je vous livre ce couplet :

     Je l’ai vu

     Je l’ai vu

     J’ai vu le Seigneur, je l’ai vu dans les feux allumés

     De cent camps en cercle

     Je peux lire sa phrase vertueuse

     Dans la moite rosée de la nuit ;

     Sa vérité est déjà en marche.

Maintenant, j’ai quelques bonnes nouvelles pour vous. Peu importe les problèmes de ce monde, et il y en a. Peu importe les épreuves de ce monde, et il y en a. J’ai vu le Seigneur dans les feux allumés. Je l’ai vu dans les feux allumés de cent camps en cercle. J’ai vu le Mouvement de Jésus parmi nous dans cette église. Je l’ai vu !

Lorsque les diocèses ont été ravagés par les ouragans, les tempêtes et les pluies diluviennes, les épiscopaliens qui avaient tout perdu se sont regroupés, ont organisé leurs églises, redéployé les ressources, transformé les sanctuaires en sacristies avec de la nourriture pour les gens. Je l’ai vu à Porto Rico. Je l’ai vu dans les Îles vierges. Je l’ai vu en Floride. Je l’ai vu au Texas. Je l’ai vu à l’ouest du Texas. J’ai vu des épiscopaliens descendre dans la rue, animer des groupes de prière – vous m’entendez ? Des groupes de prière, d’étude biblique, des dialogues avec les pouvoirs publics, je l’ai vu !

Je l’ai vu dans les feux allumés de cent camps en cercle.

La vérité de Dieu, ce Mouvement, est en marche.

Mais pas seulement ici.

J’ai vu le Seigneur, je l’ai vu dans les groupes de prière tricotant des châles de prière. Si je vous disais combien j’ai de châles de prière maintenant, vous ne me croiriez pas ! Et continuez à en apporter, car Dieu sait que j’en ai besoin !

Je l’ai vu dans les chapelets anglicans et les chapelets qui m’ont été donnés dans les réserves Navajo, des colliers de protection que je porte partout où je vais. Je l’ai vu dans des églises épiscopales ordinaires ne regroupant parfois que 15 à 20 membres qui viennent louer le Seigneur chaque dimanche, qui suivent Jésus-Christ et qui parfois se lèvent et accomplissent ce que les autres ne feraient pas. J’ai vu des épiscopaliens se tenir aux côtés de personnes qu’aucun autre ne veut approcher. J’ai vu des épiscopaliens soutenir des immigrants. J’ai vu certains d’entre nous soutenir des réfugiés. J’ai vu certains d’entre nous réclamer la justice. Non pas au nom de valeurs séculières, mais au nom de Jésus-Christ. Au nom de l’amour. Je l’ai vu !

Je l’ai vu à Charlottesville. L’évêque Shannon Johnston et le clergé de ce diocèse se sont levés pour manifester – ou plutôt pour témoigner de la façon d’aimer, alors même que les néonazis et les adeptes du Ku Klux Klan hurlaient leur haine. J’ai vu des épiscopaliens s’associer à d’autres chrétiens et à des hommes de bonne volonté de toutes religions, et je les ai vus se dresser au nom de l’amour. Comme l’aurait fait Jésus de Nazareth.

À notre époque, revendiquer notre qualité de chrétiens équivaut à ressembler quelque peu à Jésus de Nazareth. Des chrétiens qui croient en ce Jésus qui a dit « heureux les pauvres, et les pauvres de cœur ». Un Jésus de Nazareth qui a dit « heureux ceux qui font œuvre de paix ». Un Jésus de Nazareth qui a dit « heureux ceux qui ont faim et soif » que la justice de Dieu l’emporte dans le monde entier. Un Jésus qui a crié depuis la croix : « Père ! Pardonne-leur, car ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font ». Le Jésus qui a dit : « A ceci, tous vous reconnaîtront pour mes disciples : à l’amour que vous aurez les uns pour les autres. » C’est Jésus. C’est l’esprit chrétien. C’est la voie de la Croix. C’est la voie de l’amour inconditionnel et désintéressé de Dieu qui s’est offert en sacrifice. Et c’est la voie de notre salut à tous.

Je l’ai vu.

Je l’ai vu, c’est pourquoi je vais moi aussi m’asseoir. Je l’ai vu profondément lorsqu’il y a quelques années, les épiscopaliens du peuple Sioux de Standing Rock, les épiscopaliens de cette réserve se sont levés pour Jésus, au nom de l’amour. Le père John Floberg et les gens de bien de sa congrégation et des autres congrégations alentour ont pris position et, avec le soutien des épiscopaliens et des personnes de bonne volonté dans tout le pays, ont veillé sur ceux qui tentaient de protéger les territoires de sépulture sacrés, de protéger l’eau pour que celle-ci reste pure et claire pour les enfants, pour le peuple de Dieu – nous ne parlons pas ici d’une proposition radicale – afin qu’il y ait de l’eau propre et que les anciennes coutumes et traditions soient respectées. Je les ai vus soutenir les protecteurs de l’eau qui essayaient de faire changer les choses – je les ai vu leur apporter un soutien pastoral, les nourrir spirituellement. Je les ai vus essayer parfois d’être des médiateurs entre les différentes parties en conflit. Je les ai vus travailler à la réconciliation raciale. Je l’ai vu ! Je les ai vus se soucier de la création de Dieu, je l’ai vu ! Et je les ai vus apporter un témoignage évangélique dans le meilleur sens du terme, montrant une façon d’être chrétien qui ressemble à Jésus. Je l’ai vu !

Mais je l’ai vu au point d’en venir aux larmes, dans le campement des protecteurs de l’eau, au sein du peuple Sioux, dans la réserve où nous étions reçus de si bonne grâce. Je l’ai vu lorsqu’il y avait les drapeaux, ceux de toutes les tribus d’Amérique du Nord, des États-Unis et du Canada, ainsi que ceux des tribus d’Amérique du Sud. Des personnes de bonne volonté, de traditions religieuses différentes, je l’ai vu, et j’aurais aimé que vous le voyiez aussi, c’était incroyable ! Ils flottaient au vent ! Les drapeaux de toutes les nations et de tous les peuples venus soutenir ceux de Standing Rock, je l’ai vu, et le père Floberg a désigné un drapeau. Il était rouge, blanc et bleu clair. Je peux en témoigner. Je l’ai vu claquer au vent. C’était le drapeau de l’Église épiscopale. Laissez-moi vous parler de ce drapeau. Il est aux archives maintenant. C’était un vieux drapeau en loques, alors qu’il était neuf lorsqu’on l’a hissé, mais le vent du Dakota l’a mis en pièces. Il était en loques. Il était usé. Mais il claquait au vent, et la croix en son milieu était bien là, personne ne pouvait la manquer ! Comme la vieille croix de bois rugueux du cantique ! Je l’ai vue ! C’était l’Église épiscopale ! Non. C’était la branche épiscopale du Mouvement de Jésus ! Et le vent ne pouvait pas l’arrêter. La pluie ne pouvait pas l’arrêter. Les orages ne pouvaient pas l’arrêter. Les temps difficiles ne pouvaient pas l’arrêter. Car rien, non rien ne peut arrêter le mouvement de Jésus de Nazareth ! Si vous ne me croyez pas, demandez à Ponce Pilate ! Il a essayé, mais ça n’a pas marché !

La beauté des lys

Christ est né de l’autre côté de l’océan

Avec dans sa poitrine la gloire qui nous transfigure vous et moi.

Comme il est mort pour rendre les hommes saints

Vivons pour rendre les hommes libres

Tandis que Dieu est en marche.

Gloire, gloire, alléluia

La vérité de Dieu est en marche.

Que Dieu vous aime, que Dieu vous garde !

Bonne convention à tous !

Day of Unity brings together Churches and refugees in Cyprus

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:24pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Refugees and migrants in Cyprus have taken part in a multi-faith event to celebrate different cultures – and their foods. National dishes from Syria, Palestine, Wales, England, Greece, Columbia, Sri Lankan and Lebanese featured in the event, which was run by Christine Goldsmith of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and the Roman Catholic-linked Agapi Migrant Centre in Limassol.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s fund provided a grant to help the churches run cookery mornings with refugees and migrants alongside members of the Anglican church and Agapi. The sessions were planned to help with integration and to value the varied backgrounds of the different cultural and ethnic groups.

“They say too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth,” Goldsmith said, “but with 12 different nationalities in the kitchen all speaking in their mother tongue the food only tasted more delicious because of this.”

79.ª Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal – Palabras de apertura del Obispo Presidente Michael Curry

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 12:48pm

El Obispo Presidente Curry hizo estas declaraciones en la sesión de apertura de la 79.ª Convención General el 4 de julio:

July 5, 2018

Gracias, gracias.  Dios los ama a todos, ¡gracias!

Suena como el estruendo de reclinatorios en la iglesia.

Gracias, Canónigo Barlowe, y gracias por estar aquí, por su disposición a servir de esta manera.  Para servir a la causa de nuestro Señor Jesucristo como Iglesia Episcopal. Mejor aún, como la Rama Episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús.

Es un verdadero privilegio y una auténtica bendición poder servirles como su Obispo Presidente.  Es un privilegio y una bendición servir con otros siervos de Jesús que son personas extraordinarias.  La Presidente Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de nuestra Cámara de Diputados.  El Canónigo Michael Barlowe, siempre me refiero a él como el Sr. Secretario. Y es un privilegio servir con ellos.  Yo ya lo he dicho en varias Reuniones Provinciales que paso tanto tiempo con ellos que me siento como el John Boy en los Waltons.  Cuando todos se iban a la cama por la noche y decían: “Buenas noches, mamá; buenas noches, papá; buenas noches, John Boy”, y yo también digo por la noche: “Buenas noches, Michael; buenas noches, Gay”. Es una bendición y un privilegio servir con ellos y con el increíble personal de la Iglesia Episcopal y no lo digo por pura retórica.  Tenemos personas increíbles que son el personal de la Iglesia Episcopal.  Son absolutamente […], y mira, una paloma ya está volando para probarlo. Y entonces, es bueno estar [aquí] –¡espero que todos estén contentos de estar aquí!

Permítanme simplemente compartir algunas ideas al comenzar, y esto no es un sermón –es un poco temprano para todos al comenzar esto– pero resulta que encontré un texto y es de la Primera Carta a los Corintios, Capítulo 2. El Apóstol Pablo escribió, y cito,

     Pero hermanos, cuando yo fui a hablarles del designio secreto de Dios, lo hice sin hacer alardes de retórica o de sabiduría. Y, estando entre ustedes, no quise saber de otra cosa sino de Jesucristo y, más estrictamente, de Jesucristo crucificado.

Julia Ward Howe expresó un sentimiento similar cuando escribió:

     En la belleza de los lirios

     Cristo nació al otro lado del mar,

     Con una gloria en su seno

     que nos transfigura a ti y a mí,

     Puesto que murió para hacer santo al pueblo

     vivamos para hacer a todos libres,

     Mientras Dios, mientras Dios avanza

     ¡Gloria! ¡Gloria! ¡Aleluya! La verdad de Dios avanza

Realmente no somos simplemente la Iglesia Episcopal.

Aunque somos eso.

Realmente somos la Rama Episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús.

Un movimiento que comenzó hace mucho tiempo. Un movimiento cuyas raíces yacen profundas en el suelo del judaísmo. Un movimiento profundo en el corazón de Dios.

Eso es lo que somos. Y cuanto más seamos quienes somos, tanto más seremos posibles, más allá de lo que podríamos incluso preguntar o imaginar.

Me di cuenta de esto no hace mucho tiempo. Fue en Seattle, Washington, en una visita a la maravillosa Diócesis de Olympia. Y, algunos de ustedes tal vez saben que Seattle es el hogar de Starbucks. Y la tienda original de Starbucks, la primera –¿todos saben algo de Starbucks, no? La original todavía está allí, y uno puede ir y visitarla. Y entonces, pensé que debería hacer una peregrinación. Yo ya había estado en la Catedral, así que pensé que debería ir también a la catedral del mundo, o sea, fui a Starbucks. A la primera tienda.  Solo había estado en otras tiendas de Starbucks de todo el país. No había estado en el Starbucks original.  Entré y pedí mi café “grande bold”, que es mi bebida habitual, y dije: “Y voy a acompañarlo con un scone”.  El camarero me dijo entonces muy cortésmente: “Aquí no servimos comida. Servimos café y bebidas finas”. Dije: “Oh, este es el auténtico Starbucks”. Y entonces recordé haber leído el libro de Howard Schultz El Desafío Starbucks. En este trabajo biográfico, habla de una época en la que Starbucks se había expandido profundamente por todo el país y por todo el mundo y no solo habían expandido el número de tiendas que tenían, sino que realmente expandieron el menú hasta el punto de que el menú se multiplicó y desarrolló y creció. Había dicho que todo estaba yendo bien y luego, de repente, sus acciones en la bolsa parecían comenzar a decaer a medida que se expandían. De repente, sus ganancias parecían estar bajando, o no subiendo tan rápido como debían, y comenzaron a preocuparse de que algo había resultado mal incluso en su crecimiento y expansión. Schultz dice en este libro que una vez fue a una tienda de Starbucks, y tan pronto entró pudo percibir un olor a queso quemado más pronunciado que el aroma del café. En ese instante se dio cuenta de que Starbucks había perdido su rumbo, se había alejado de sus raíces, lejos de su origen, lejos de su misión original, lejos del núcleo que le dio nacimiento y vida en primer lugar. Y entonces pensó que si cuando entras en un Starbucks, y lo primero que hueles es queso quemado, ¡algo está mal! ¡Nosotros estamos es en el negocio del café! ¿Y saben lo que hicieron? Cerraron –esto es en 2008– cerraron todas las tiendas de Starbucks.  Las cerraron todas.  Y enviaron a los baristas a volver a capacitarse para preparar un buen café y crear un contexto para una buena conversación humana.

Hermanos míos y hermanas mías, no estamos en el negocio de hornear queso.  Estamos en el negocio del café. ¡Y el nombre de ese café es Jesús de Nazaret! ¡Ese es nuestro negocio!

Y cuanto más nos acerquemos a nuestras raíces, a la fuente, a la fuente de nuestra propia vida, la fuente de nuestra identidad, la razón por la que estamos aquí, mientras más nos acerquemos a eso, encontraremos la fortaleza para enfrentar los días venideros.  Encontraremos la sabiduría, el valor y la creatividad necesarios para captar el momento histórico actual.

Digo eso para decir que el Movimiento de Jesús no es un invento de Michael Curry. Este Movimiento de Jesús se remonta mucho más atrás.  Los eruditos bíblicos han descrito durante mucho tiempo los primeros días de la cristiandad.  Sus primeros orígenes como un Movimiento de Jesús.  Como personas que se reunieron alrededor de Jesús de Nazaret, que escucharon sus enseñanzas.  Ahora bien, este no es un sermón, es una presentación, pero quienes escucharon sus enseñanzas, quienes miraron a su vida, absorbieron su espíritu y su espíritu comenzó a convertirse en el espíritu de ellos, eso es lo que llamamos Pentecostés.

Su espíritu se convirtió en el espíritu de ellos.  ¡Se encontraron amando de la manera que Jesús ama, dando de la manera que Jesús da, perdonando de la manera que Jesús perdona, haciendo justicia, amando la misericordia, caminando humildemente con Dios justamente como Jesús! Y el pueblo los observaba y los veía y decía: “Todos ustedes parecen pequeños Cristos”. Y entonces los apodaron cristianos.

Hermanos míos y hermanas mías, no somos simplemente la Iglesia Episcopal. Somos la Rama Episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús.  Eso es lo que somos.  Y eso es lo que el mundo está suplicando y hambriento de que seamos.

Sin embargo, voy a mantener esto breve.

Sí, presidenta Jennings, ¿tiene algo que decir? ¡Sí, lo voy a mantener breve! ¡Lo prometo!

Julia Ward Howe es una de mis personas favoritas. Y, como recordarán, compuso su poema, el que luego se convirtió en el Himno de Batalla de la República en medio de una pesadilla nacional.  En plena Guerra Civil. Mientras esta nación se desgarraba y se hacía pedazos. Mientras esta nación luchaba por encontrar su propia alma liberando al cautivo.  Fue en el contexto de un profundo desequilibrio. De tiempos difíciles. De tiempos cuando las virtudes mismas y los valores mismos del país estaban en juego, ¡un momento no muy diferente al nuestro! Un momento en el cual una nación, un momento en el cual el mundo debe encontrar su alma otra vez. Y fue entonces cuando ella escribió las palabras que se convirtieron en el Himno de Batalla. Además, escribió una estrofa, a menudo pasada por alto, en ese himno, que habla de la venida del Señor. Y en esa estrofa escribió, y cito:

     Lo he visto a Él

     Lo he visto a Él

     He visto al Señor, lo he visto en las hogueras

     de un centenar de campamentos;

     Puedo leer su santa oración

     Por los rocíos y humedades de la tarde;

     Su verdad, ya está avanzando.

Ahora tengo buenas noticias para ustedes. No importa cuáles sean los problemas de este mundo, y sí que los hay. No importa cuáles sean las dificultades de este mundo, y sí que las hay.  Lo he visto a Él en las hogueras. Lo he visto a Él en las hogueras de un centenar de campamentos. He visto el Movimiento de Jesús entre nosotros en esta Iglesia. ¡Yo lo vi!

Cuando las diócesis devastadas por los huracanes y las tormentas de viento y lluvia, los episcopales que perdieron sus hogares, se movilizaron ellos mismos, organizaron sus iglesias, redistribuyeron recursos, convirtieron los santuarios en sacristías con comida para la gente. Lo vi en Puerto Rico. Lo vi en las Islas Vírgenes. Lo vi en Florida. Lo vi en Texas. Lo vi en el oeste de Texas. Vi a los episcopales saliendo a las calles, dirigiendo grupos de oración. ¿Me oyen? Grupos de oración, grupos de estudio de la Biblia, todos promoviendo y defendiendo ante las agencias gubernamentales, ¡eso yo lo vi!

A Él lo he visto en las hogueras de un centenar de campamentos.

La verdad de Dios, este Movimiento, está avanzando.

Pero no solo allí.

Lo he visto, lo he visto a Él en los grupos de oración que tejen chales de oración.  ¡No creerían cuántos chales de oración ahora tengo! Y que sigan llegando, “pues el Señor lo sabe, ¡sabe que los necesito!

Lo he visto a Él en los rosarios anglicanos y otros rosarios. Los he visto cuando la gente de Navajolandia me dio cuentas de oración, cuentas de protección, que llevo a todas partes. Lo he visto en las iglesias episcopales comunes, a veces de quince y veinte personas que adoran al Señor el domingo. Quienes siguen a Jesucristo y que a veces se levantan y hacen lo que otros no harían. He visto a los episcopales apoyar a otros que nadie más apoyaría. He visto a los episcopales apoyar a los inmigrantes. Nos hemos visto defendiendo a los refugiados. Nos hemos visto defendiendo la justicia. No en nombre de los valores seculares, sino en el nombre de Jesucristo. En el nombre del amor. ¡Lo he visto!

Lo vi en Charlottesville. El obispo Shannon Johnston y el clero de esa diócesis se plantaron para protestar: para dar testimonio del camino del amor, incluso cuando los nazis y los neo-miembros del Klan proferían gritos de odio. Vi a los episcopales unirse a otros cristianos y gente de otras religiones y buena voluntad, los vi defender el nombre del amor. Ese es el camino de Jesús de Nazaret.

Debemos en nuestra época, debemos reclamar un cristianismo que realmente se parezca a Jesús de Nazaret. Un cristianismo que cree en aquel Jesús que dijo: bienaventurados son los pobres y los pobres de espíritu. Un Jesús de Nazaret que dijo: bienaventurados son los pacificadores. Un Jesús de Nazaret que dice bienaventurados son los que tienen hambre y sed de que la justicia de Dios prevalezca en todo el mundo. Un Jesús que dice desde la cruz, “¡Padre!  Perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen”. El Jesús que dice: “por esto todos sabrán que ustedes son mis discípulos”. Que se amen los unos a los otros.  Ese es Jesús. Eso es la cristiandad. Es el Vía Crucis. Es el camino del amor incondicional, desinteresado y sacrificado de Dios. Y ese es el camino que nos salvará a todos.

Lo he visto a Él.

Lo vi a Él, y con esto, realmente me sentaré. Lo vi a Él profundamente cuando hace unos pocos años, los episcopales de la Nación Sioux Standing Rock, los episcopales en la reserva defendieron a Jesús en nombre del amor. El padre John Floberg y las buenas personas de su congregación y otras congregaciones cercanas, se plantaron y con el apoyo de los episcopales y gente de buena voluntad en todo el país, se aseguraron de que los guardianes del agua que trabajaban para proteger las tierras funerarias sagradas protegieran el agua para que el agua sea pura y limpia para los niños, para el pueblo de Dios –esta no es una proposición radical de la que estamos hablando– de tal manera que haya agua limpia, respetando las antiguas herencias y tradiciones. Los vi apoyando a los guardianes del agua que estaban tratando de cambiar; los vi ofreciendo atención pastoral, educación espiritual.  Los vi tratando de ser mediadores a veces entre varias partes rivales.  Los vi haciendo la obra de la reconciliación racial. ¡Yo lo vi! Los vi preocupándose por la creación de Dios, ¡lo vi! Y los vi dando testimonio evangélico en el mejor sentido de la palabra, representando una manera de ser cristiano que realmente se parece a Jesús. ¡Yo lo vi!

Pero lo vi casi al borde de las lágrimas, cuando estábamos en el campamento de los guardianes de agua, en la Nación Sioux, en la propia reserva, donde fuimos recibidos con tanta amabilidad. Lo vi cuando había banderas, banderas de todas las tribus de América del Norte, EE.UU. y Canadá, y tribus de América del Sur. Gente de buena voluntad, de diferentes tradiciones religiosas, lo vi, aquellas banderas, ¡deberían haberlo visto, fue increíble! ¡Estaban ondeando al viento! De todas las naciones y pueblos que intentaban estar con la gente de Standing Rock, lo vi, y luego el padre Floberg señaló una bandera.  Era de color rojo, blanco y de un color azul claro.  Solo quiero ser claro. La vi y estaba flotando en el viento. Era la bandera de la Iglesia Episcopal. Pero permítanme contarles sobre esa bandera. Está ahora en los Archivos. Era una bandera vieja y hecha jirones, era nueva cuando la levantaron, pero el viento de Dakota estaba convirtiendo sus hebras en trizas. Estaba hecha jirones. Estaba gastada. Pero estaba flotando. ¡Y la cruz en el centro estaba allí y nadie lo extrañaría! ¡Era como esa vieja cruz robusta! ¡Todo eso lo vi! ¡Era la Iglesia Episcopal! ¡No! ¡Era la Rama Episcopal del Movimiento de Jesús! Y el viento no pudo detenerla. La lluvia no pudo detenerla. Las tormentas no pudieron detenerla. Los tiempos difíciles no pudieron detenerla. Porque, ¡nada! ¡Nada puede detener el Movimiento de Jesús de Nazaret! ¡Si no me creen, pregúntenle a Poncio Pilato! ¡Él lo intentó! ¡Y no le funcionó!

La belleza de los lirios.

Cristo realmente nació al otro lado del mar.

Con la gloria en su seno que nos transfigura a ti y a mí.

Puesto que murió para hacer santo al pueblo

Vivamos para hacer a todos libres

Mientras Dios avanza

Gloria, gloria aleluya

La verdad de Dios avanza

Dios los ama, Dios los bendiga.

¡Tengamos una gran Convención!

July 9 dispatches from 79th General Convention in Austin

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:35am

The opening hymn, “God is Love, let heaven adore him” set the tone for the Integrity Eucharist at the 79th General Convention, Austin, Texas. Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry proudly holds his Louie Crew Clay Award from Integrity. In his remarks he said, “Together we can change the world!” Photo: Sharon Tillman/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 9 and late July 8.

Leaders of both Houses honored at Integrity Eucharist

There were two recipients of Integrity’s Louie Crew Clay Award on the evening of July 8: the Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Both were honored at the Integrity Eucharist at the 79th General Convention, Austin, Texas.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

“The award is offered by Integrity on occasion when we feel there is someone who has earned it,” said Mel Soriano, a member of the organization. E. Bruce Garner, current Integrity president, made the presentations. The Rev. Carlye J. Hughes, bishop-elect of Newark, was the preacher.

– Sharon Tillman

Las políticas del gobierno de Trump sobresalen en la sesión conjunta sobre inmigración

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 9:59am

La Rda. Nancy Frausto, “soñadora” y diputada de la Diócesis de Los Ángeles, testifica el 7 de julio en la audiencia conjunta sobre las resoluciones de inmigración Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Pocos temas se debatirán tan enfáticamente en la 79ª. Convención General como el de la inmigración. La reunión trienal de la Iglesia Episcopal se está celebrando en la capital de este estado fronterizo en medio de un continuo clamor por la política de “tolerancia cero” del gobierno de Trump hacia los inmigrantes que entran en el país, una política que hasta hace poco conllevaba la separación de los niños de sus padres detenidos.

La Convención General estudia nueve resoluciones sobre la migración y la inmigración, y las nueve estaban en la agenda de una audiencia conjunta de los dos comités legislativos, que tuvo lugar el 7 de julio en el hotel JW Marriot, justo al oeste del centro de convenciones.

“Necesitamos una declaración que diga que estas familias le importan a esta Iglesia”, dijo el Rdo. José Rodríguez-Sanjuro diputado suplente de la Diócesis de Florida Central.

Alrededor de dos docenas de personas testificaron, entre ellas obispos centroamericanos, sacerdotes de estados fronterizos, episcopales activos en el reasentamiento de refugiados y al menos una “soñadora” [dreamer], la Rda. Nancy Frausto, que al igual que otros [de su condición] fue traída ilegalmente a Estados Unidos siendo niña. Ella ahora es sacerdote en la Diócesis de Los Ángeles.

“Los 800.000 soñadores deben contar con el respaldo de la Iglesia Episcopal, y no sólo ellos sino todos los inmigrantes”, dijo Frausto, al hablar a favor de la Resolución C033, que declara oficialmente que la Iglesia respeta la dignidad de los inmigrantes y bosqueja la manera en que la política debe reflejar esa creencia.

“Lo voy a poner en términos sencillos: esto salva vidas”, dijo Frausto, que también fue una de los tres panelistas que discutieron la reconciliación racial el 6 de julio en la primera de las tres Conversaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal [TEConversations] programadas como sesiones conjuntas de la Convención General.

Los dos comités de justicia social, uno centrado en la política de Estados Unidos y el otro en la política internacional, celebraron la audiencia para tener reacciones sobre las resoluciones que abarcan una amplia gama de temas, incluidos el proporcionar santuario a inmigrantes que enfrentan deportación, condenar la separación de familias migrantes, respaldar a los haitianos que se preparan para ser deportados y exigir una legislación que les otorgue un estatus legal permanente a los “soñadores” a través de la legislación federal que se conoce como la Ley DREAM[*].

La Convención General se ha pronunciado sobre temas de inmigración a través de resoluciones que se remontan a los años ochenta [del pasado siglo]. Entre ellas una resolución de 2012 que insta la aprobación de la Ley DREAM. Este año la Resolución C002  pide la aprobación de una Ley DREAM “limpia”, una referencia a acontecimientos políticos recientes que han empantanado el progreso de la legislación desde que el presidente Donald Trump le puso fin a una política del Poder Ejecutivo que les brindaba protección a los “soñadores”.

Las resoluciones aprobadas por la Convención General pueden ser usadas, para su labor de promoción social, por la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales, que tiene su sede en Washington, D.C. y que lleva a cabo tareas de promoción [o defensa] social mediante apelaciones directas a las oficinas del Congreso o a través de movilizaciones de la Red Episcopal de Política Pública.

De las nueve resoluciones sobre inmigración que se encuentran ante la Convención General, el comité de política internacional está revisando sólo una, la D009, pero esa sola es sustancial. Con el título de “Principios cristianos en respuesta a la migración humana” sienta algunas de los fundamentos bíblicos y teológicos para la defensa social de la Iglesia en tales asuntos, así como la aplicación de esas creencias en el mundo real.

El Rdo. Paul Moore, sacerdote episcopal de Silver City, Nuevo México, y presidente del Ministerio Fronterizo de Río Grande, testificó a favor de la D009, hablando en inglés y luego traduciéndose el mismo al español, y citó varios pasajes bíblicos que respaldan la sensibilización de la Iglesia hacia los inmigrantes.

“Acojan a los extranjeros, para que no dejemos de hospedar ángeles”, dijo él, parafraseando un pasaje de Hebreos.

Angela Smith testificó de su trabajo con el Ministerio de Migración de San Francisco de Asís, en Kansas, una filial del Ministerio Episcopal de Migración, una de las nueve agencias que tienen contratos con el Departamento de Estado de EE.UU. para reasentar refugiados en este país. El número de reasentamientos ha descendido bajo la égida de Trump, lo cual, según Smith, está afectando el prestigio del país en el mundo.

“Esto no es lo que somos. No es quienes queremos ser” dijo Smith. “Los refugiados enriquecen nuestras comunidades a lo largo y ancho de Estados Unidos. Aportan alegría y nos hacen mejores”.

Más de 100 personas asistieron a la audiencia conjunta del 7 de julio sobre resoluciones de inmigración en el hotel JW Marriot en Austin, Texas, durante la 79ª. Convención General. Foto de David Paulsen/ENS.

Y el Rdo. Chris Easthill, diputado de la Convocación de Iglesias Episcopales en Europa, enfatizó que los problemas en torno a la migración no son exclusivos de Estados Unidos, y que la Iglesia puede ayudar a contener la marea de temor y de odio.

“La migración [impone] una gran división política en todo el mundo”, dijo Easthill. “Necesitamos una sólida respuesta cristiana”.

La audiencia tuvo lugar mientras los obispos y diputados que asisten a la Convención General planean, de motu proprio una respuesta visible: un viaje programado para el 8 de julio a un centro de detención federal de inmigración que queda a poco más de media hora de Austin. Está previsto un oficio de oración para alrededor del mediodía frente al Centro de Detención Residencial T. Don Hutto, y el calendario legislativo del domingo se ajustó para darle cabida a los que deseen asistir.

El oficio de oración se preparó en respuesta a la política del gobierno de Trump hacia las familias inmigrantes que cruzan la frontera ilegalmente con niños, esa política se aborda directamente en la Resolución A178 que se titula “Alto a la intensificación e implementación de las políticas y prácticas migratorias que son lesivas a mujeres, padres y niños migrantes”.

Esa política también fue citada el 7 de julio durante los testimonios en la audiencia conjunta sobre inmigración.

El obispo Juan David Alvarado de la Iglesia Episcopal en El Salvador, testificó en español con un intérprete al inglés para decirles a los comités los desastres naturales y humanos que la gente de su país ha sufrido, desde terremotos e inundaciones hasta la guerra civil. A los inmigrantes salvadoreños que buscan entrar en Estados Unidos los motiva la seguridad, la familia y la oportunidad, dijo él.

“La política de tolerancia cero en este país afecta grandemente a la región de América Central”, expresó Alvarado en apoyo a la Resolución C033.

Varias personas pidieron que el lenguaje de las resoluciones fortaleciera el llamado a la acción o proporcionara más datos específicos acerca de la urgencia de estos temas. Otros dijeron que, sencillamente, era importante para la Iglesia asumir una posición.

“Necesitamos una declaración global. Necesitamos esta declaración, afirmó el Rdo. José Rodríguez-Sanjuro, diputado suplente de la Diócesis de Florida Central.

Él dijo que la mitad de su congregación, la iglesia episcopal de Jesús de Nazaret [Jesus of Nazareth] en Orlando, está compuesta de inmigrantes, y muchos tienen miedo. Contó de una reunión en su oficina con una familia, y el niñito llorando. El padre ya tenía una fecha de deportación y su madre tenía que presentarse más adelante este año ante las autoridades federales del Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas.

“Necesitamos una declaración que diga que estas familias son importantes para esta Iglesia” dijo él al abogar a favor de la Resolución C033. “Estoy perdiendo feligreses debido a la deportación. Denme algo que yo pueda usar para darles esperanza. Denme algo para reforzar el mensaje de que esta Iglesia les da la bienvenida, de que esta Iglesia los ama”.

La Rda. Devon Anderson de Minnesota, presidente del comité de política nacional, concluyó la audiencia agradeciéndoles a los que testificaron y a las más de 100 personas que asistieron.

“Gracias por las proclamaciones de esperanza y la posibilidad de que nuestra Iglesia ande por el mundo abogando a favor de los inmigrantes en nuestras comunidades”, dijo ella.

Las deliberaciones de comités sobre las resoluciones están programadas para la mañana del 9 de julio.

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

[*] Sigla en inglés de Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Ley para el Desarrollo, la Ayuda y la Educación para Menores Extranjeros. (N del T.)


Bishops adopt covenant pledging to work for equity and justice

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 11:04pm

Members of the House of Bishops spend time in table conversation July 8 before debate on adopting a covenant to combat abuse, harassment and exploitation. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Bishops on July 8 adopted a covenant that commits them to seek changes in their dioceses to combat abuse, harassment and exploitation.

“The church as both community of faith and workplace is not immune to abuse, harassment and exploitation of people of varying gender, racial and cultural identities,” the bishops say in the document, which applies only to bishops, entitled “A Working Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for All in The Episcopal Church.”

The text of the document is due to be posted in the House of Bishops’ Virtual Binder soon.

While calling attention to structures that work against people of all gender, racial and cultural identities, the idea of a covenant grew out of the stories shared during a Liturgy of Listening during General Convention on July 4. In that service, bishops offered laments and confession for the church’s role in sexism and misogyny.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real said that after the Liturgy of Listening it was clear that there is no way we can do this and nothing more.” 

Sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation are part of the system,” she said. “This is about acknowledging and accepting that.”

The document reads in part, “As pastoral and prophetic leaders of the church, we bear the responsibility to continue the healing and transformational work that has yet to be fully realized.” The bishops also committed “to strive daily, transforming the culture of our church into a more just, safe, caring and prophetic place for all.”

Gray-Reeves said she knows the bishops have good will and good intentions, but that alone won’t help them change systemic cultural issues within the church. “We need each other’s help to do that as a churchwide organization,” she said. The covenant is intended to do that.

The covenant spells out ways the bishops can begin:

  • Recognizing the power of their office and using it with humility in service of others
  • Engaging in self-examination and making changes in how they use their power
  • Being aware of and listening to stories of people affected by biases
  • Giving space for leadership based on equity
  • Making room for a variety of cultural and gender-based ways of leading
  • Supporting a range of leadership models
  • Eliminating pay and benefit inequities
  • Creating and enforcing equitable parental leave policies
  • Helping parish search committees to examine their biases as they make choices in the call of clergy

During debate on adopting the covenant, Central New York Bishop Dede Duncan-Probe said that she had grown up in the Episcopal Church, and “sexual abuse and harassment has been as much a part of my life as Bible study and communion.” The elements of the covenant offer bishops “something we are all called to do as part of the Jesus movement.”

Bishop Greg Brewer of Central Florida said he looks forward to taking the document back to the women clergy in his diocese and saying, “Let’s talk. What do you think?”

Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris said the covenant “lifts up that which has been an aspiration of this house.” As a woman of color, she urged bishops to uphold differences of all those made in God’s image and to work to end discrimination.

After the covenant was adopted, Eastern Michigan Bishop Provisional Cate Waynick told Episcopal News Service that this was the first time in her 30-plus years of ordained ministry that the House of Bishops “actually decided to take a hard look at the way women have been treated.” She said her fellow bishops now are awakening to the pain and consequences of how women have been treated. Waynick is grateful that the bishops have agreed to ongoing conversation and to holding each other accountable, and as a result, “maybe our daughters and granddaughters won’t have to have these experiences.”

Bishop Brian Thom of Idaho said the covenant invites “serious self-examination” and asks bishops to take steps to change themselves personally  He added that men of the generation of many bishops, himself included, can find it hard to change because “we are sure it’s not us” responsible for such pain and experiences. “But I have been convicted by sexism,” he told ENS.

Washington Bishop Marian Budde, who also spoke to ENS, said that throughout her life in the church, women have taken it for granted “that we would be treated badly. We had to shrug it off.” But, she said, “This is not the way of Jesus. This is not the way of love.”

Several bishops said they wanted to be sure the covenant was on the agenda of every meeting of the House of Bishops going forward. Bishop Audrey Scanlan of Central Pennsylvania said during the debate that plans are underway to create a toolkit to help dioceses create their own kind of listening events to begin the hard work that is needed. “Sexual violence, aggression, exploitation and harassment exist in our church. We can’t let that be the last word,” she said.

— Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.

Episcopalians gather in public witness outside immigrant detention center

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 8:42pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached a sermon of “love God, love neighbor” to more than 1,000 people during a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, where 500 females are housed, in Taylor, Texas. Photo: Frank Logue

[Episcopal News Service – Taylor, Texas] A thousand Episcopalians, at least two for every one female incarcerated at the Hutto Detention Center in rural Texas, stood under the blistering sun July 8 in public witness to the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies that have separated families over the last couple of months and have led to roundups of migrants and deportations.

“We do not come in hatred, we do not come in bigotry, we do not come to put anybody down, we come to lift everybody up. We come in love, we come in love because we follow Jesus and Jesus taught us love,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in his sermon during the noontime Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice held in sight of the Hutto Detention Facility here.

“Love the lord your god and love your neighbor,” Curry said, and his list of neighbors included liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Independent, the neighbor one likes and the neighbor one doesn’t like, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian, Israeli, refugee, immigrant and prison guard. “Love your neighbor,” Curry shouted, to the crowd responding, “yes.”

“We come in love,” he said.

An ad hoc planning team lead by the Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street, and the Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York, organized the prayer service in partnership with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that works for a more just society by challenging the for-profit prison system, mass incarceration and deportation and criminalization of migrants.

Nineteen buses transported more than 1,000 Episcopalians from the Austin Convention Center to the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, a 40-minute drive from Austin. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention is underway in Austin through July 13. The U.S. immigration debate and the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy loomed large the previous day in a joint legislative committee hearing, where some 25 people testified on issues ranging from providing sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation, condemning the separation of migrant families, supporting Haitians who are poised to face deportation and calling for legislation to give permanent legal status to the dreamers through federal legislation known as the DREAM Act.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the president of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, tell the gathered crowd to turn toward the detention center. The Rev. Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York, and one of the event organizers, shares the platform. Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies delayed by one hour the start of their July 8 legislative sessions so that the presiding officers and more than 1,000 Episcopalians transported by 19 buses could attend the prayer near the privately operated detention center, housing 500 females in rural Texas about 40 minutes’ drive from Austin.

Standing just outside the detention center’s chain-link fence, Taylor community members Jose Orta and Audrey Amos McGreenee held a sign to T. Don Hutton reading “End immigration detention in our nation of immigrants.” In 2006, the prison was converted from a medium-security prison to a family detention center, and then in 2009 to an all-women for-profit detention center, housing migrant women, some having been separated from their children, Orta said in an interview with Episcopal News Service.

Although there long have been issues with the broken U.S. immigration system, the announcement in April that the Trump administration would begin criminally prosecuting migrants and separating children from their parents while they undergo deportation hearings has called American citizens to advocate for family unification and reunification.

Taylor community members Jose Orta and Audrey Amos McGreenee held a sign to T. Don Hutton reading “End immigration detention in our nation of immigrants.” Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

In some cases, it has been a call to advocate for just policies at the national level. In other cases it has meant taking to the streets and bearing prayerful witness, as Episcopalians did outside Hutto.

“I think, frankly, what we’re doing, we’re expressing what most Americans feel. We are horrified by the current state of things. I think most of us cannot image how we can make it visible. I think we are afraid to talk our neighbors, we are afraid our friends disagree with us, we are afraid to cause insult. So when we started to do this, we thought we’d get 150, 200 people. We have more than 1,000 just on the buses,” said Varghese, who is also a deputy representing the Diocese of New York.

“Part of what we are seeing is our solidarity with each other and that there’s a great voice in opposition to what is happening in our country, and it’s us,” Varghese said. “It’s among us, and the reason to do things like this is to give people an opportunity to be their best selves.”

Jesus stood with vulnerable people, so the church stands with vulnerable people, said the Rev. Melanie Mullen, director of reconciliation, justice and creation care.

“We want to walk in the way of love and accompaniment with our most vulnerable sisters in suffering,” she said. “We are going to do this across the country wherever people are victimized … Jesus first said ‘suffer the little children unto me’; that’s our first call, to stand with the poor, the victimized, the most fragile. The presiding bishop told us to walk in the way of love, it gives us strength to come here and say we can face this together.”

Immigration in the United States, as in other countries, is disorganized, said El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado, in an interview with ENS following the prayer of witness.

El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado and the Rev. Tommy Dillion, an alternate from the Diocese of Louisiana and a longtime supporter of the Anglican-Episcopal Church of El Salvador, hold up a sigh of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated for his social justice work while standing behind the altar. Romero is designated for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“To be a migrant,” he said, is treated like a crime. When in reality, migrants are fleeing violence, they are looking not only for opportunity but also for refuge and salvation. In Central America’s Northern Triangle Countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – people are fleeing social conflict.

“It’s affecting many people; there’s a lot of forced displacement,” said Alvarado, adding that between 60 and 70 people flee El Salvador daily, some of them staying in Guatemala and Mexico and others making their way to the U.S. border.

Episcopalians gathered between two baseball diamonds – the permitted gathering place – to hold a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

As the prayer was happening, an 11-member Salvadorian family was trying to cross the border and one of the family members was texting its status to Elmer Romero, a Salvadoran-born member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston and a board member of Cristosal, a human-rights organization providing assistance to Central Americans who have been forcibly displaced by violence. Cristosal began more than a decade ago as an Episcopal ministry.

During the Prayers of the People, Texas Assistant Bishop Hector Monterosso and Central New York Bishop De De Duncan-Probe, prayed for the termination of violence, poverty and displacement and for leaders to implement policies that both protect national security and that lead to safe migration, the end of detention for asylum seekers.

They prayed for children separated from parents and parents separated from children.

“Today is my son’s birthday, and if he had ever been taken from me, I don’t know what I would have done … just because I was trying to bring him somewhere where he could have liberty, where he could have a life,” said Sandra Montes, a music director from the Diocese of Texas who led music at the prayer and sang the day before at the July 7 revival.

“For me it’s very important that these women [know we are here],” Montes said. “I cannot even put into words, the desperation I would feel if I were in there and my child were somewhere else. Or even if he was with me just because we want something better, we’re looking for freedom.”

“We do not come in hatred, we do not come in bigotry, we do not come to put anybody down. We come to lift everybody up. We come in love,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in prayer at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. Photo: Frank Logue

In a Twitter post following the prayer service, Grassroots Leadership posted that the women in the prison were crying, just knowing they are not alone. Not leaving anyone alone is at the core of loving one’s neighbor and following Jesus’ teachings, Curry said.

A woman called from Hutto after today’s prayer and told us they were glued to the windows until the last bus left the detention center. Women inside were crying, saying they knew they weren’t alone after seeing so many people there. Thank you @iamepiscopalian! #gc79 pic.twitter.com/7THocwYphq

— GrassrootsLeadership (@Grassroots_News) July 8, 2018

“Jesus said ‘love God and love your neighbor.’ We come in love, that is the core of our faith, that is the heart of it,” said Curry.

“The way of love calls for us to be humanitarian, it calls for us to care for those who have no one to care for them, and we come because we don’t believe that a great nation like this one separates children from their families.

“We come because we believe that this nation, conceived in liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal, we believe that we must call this nation, America, back to its very soul. We are here because we love this nation. Because if you really love somebody you don’t leave ’em the way they are, you help them to become their best selves. We are here to save the soul of America.”

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

Gay Clark Jennings re-elected for third, final term as deputies’ president

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 8:08pm

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings thanks the House of Deputies July 8 just after the house reelected her as their president for her third and final three-year term. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Deputies reelected the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings July 8 to her third and final three-year term.

Jennings faced no opposition in the election and was elected 786-26. Vice President Byron Rushing chaired the vote and the house rose to its feet in applause.

She was first elected at the 77th General Convention in 2012. At the 78th General Convention in 2015, she was reelected by acclamation. Jennings is the first ordained woman to hold the position.

“Thank you to this house. I love this house and I love this church and so I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in electing me for a third and final term,” Jennings said after the vote. “In the last six years you have afforded me the privilege of making a life and serving this church and all of you. I thank you for the opportunity to do it for three more years.”

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, speaks during a kickoff news conference July 4 at 79th General Convention in Austin Texas. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

The president is limited canonically to three consecutive three-year terms.

Her election was the last of a series of elections that took nearly three hours of the house’s planned three hour and 45-minute session.

Jennings’ re-election took place two days after the convention agreed to pay the president of the House of Deputies for the work of the office,  ending a two-decades-long compensation effort.

The president’s role has been changing since 1964, when the convention gave the position a three-year term instead of simply being elected to preside during convention.

In addition to chairing the House of Deputies during convention, the president also is canonically required to serve as vice chair of Executive Council and vice president of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, or DFMS, the nonprofit corporate entity through which the Episcopal Church owns property and does business. He or she has a wide swath of appointment powers. The president also travels around the church, speaking at conferences and other gatherings and meeting with deputies and other Episcopalians.

Jennings is a graduate of Colgate University and Episcopal Divinity School, and has received honorary doctorates from both institutions. She lives outside Cleveland in Sagamore Hills, Ohio, with her husband, Albert, who has been a parish priest for 36 years. They have been married for those same 36 years. Their son, Sam, lives nearby and is a sound engineer. Their daughter, Lee, died in 2010.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is the Episcopal News Service’s senior editor and reporter.

79.ª Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal * Sermón del 6 de julio por la Rda. Gay Clark Jennings, presidente de la Cámara de Diputados

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 8:03pm

July 7, 2018

En el nombre de Dios. Amén.

En la primera lectura de hoy, el profeta Isaías imagina un mundo en el cual “ni transitarán por [‘el] los necios” En los próximos diez minutos yo puedo darles sobradas pruebas de que este mundo todavía no está con nosotros. Pero espero no hacerlo.

La gente que estudia la Biblia atentamente, y entre las cuales se cuentan probablemente la mayoría de las personas que se hallan en este salón esta noche, corre el riesgo de adquirir un hábito comprensible, pero inútil, que consiste en que podemos esmerarnos mucho en nuestro propio beneficio. Mis hermanos y hermanas predicadores, ¿cuál de nosotros, al  enfrentarnos al Evangelio de esta noche, no se ha preocupado de lo que queremos decir acerca de la unidad cristiana frente a las profundas divisiones entre cristianos en Estados Unidos? Estudiantes de la Biblia: ¿cuál de nosotros no se ha sentido confundido por los múltiples significados de la palabra “mundo” que aparece ocho veces en menos de las 225 palabras del evangelio de hoy y aún más en el extenso discurso del cual proviene?

Esa es una tarea importante, y que Dios oriente nuestros empeños, pero ustedes no pueden dedicar tanto tiempo profundizando en eso sin perder de vista las relucientes joyas que se encuentran en la superficie. De manera que en esta noche yo querría recordarles un hecho indiscutido y subvalorado: según este evangelio, Jesús ruega por nosotros. Jesús ruega por nosotros.

Se encuentra ahí en la primera parte del versículo 20: “No ruego sólo por estos”, refiriéndose a los que están en el aposento alto con él, “Ruego también por los que han de creer en mí por el mensaje de ellos”.

Esos son ustedes. Esa soy yo. Esos son todos en nuestras iglesias. Jesús está rogando por nosotros.

Dentro de un minuto me ocuparé del tema de su oración, pero meditemos por un momento en que el Hijo de Dios está rogando por nosotros. Ustedes y yo vivimos en una cultura hambrienta de confirmación y que consume montones de calorías inútiles en un intento de satisfacer esta necesidad. Lunes de motivación Hashtag: Martes de transformación. Los carteles en los muros de las empresas y los textos en los tazones de café nos instan a tener mejores opiniones de nosotros mismos. Podemos ir a la Internet y aprender formas “de desterrar las reflexiones negativas” Y si bien yo no dudo que estos ejercicios puedan ser útiles, el hecho de que nos dicen constantemente que merecemos algo sugiere que no lo creemos del todo.

De manera que la próxima vez que ustedes necesiten “silenciar su crítico interno”, recuerden que Jesús ruega por ustedes. Esa es una respuesta contundente.

Ahora bien, puesto que estamos hablando del evangelio y no de un manual de autoayuda, debo hacer alguna referencia a lo que Jesús quiso decir cuando  rogaba “para que todos sean uno”. La unidad es importante. Abundaré en esto en un minuto.

Pero lo que más me toca de este pasaje no es sólo lo que Jesús dice, sino la franca vulnerabilidad con que lo dice. Estas no son las palabras de alguien que se dirige a la dirección general y le hacer saber al jefe que es hora de activar la próxima fase del plan para la divina salvación. Ese es alguien que implora, que intercede por personas a las que ama y —seamos sinceros respecto a esto— por los cuales él teme. Porque uno no le pide a Dios que proteja a los que no están en peligro.

¿Por qué Jesús teme por sus discípulos y, por extensión, por nosotros? El mundo nos malentenderá y nos perseguirá. Seremos vulnerables al maligno. Y, enfrentemos la realidad, Jesús conocía a estas personas, y nos conoce. Somos un desastre. Para parafrasear a Oscar Wilde, podemos resistir cualquier cosa menos la tentación. Y cuando la tentación nos enfrenta a unos con otros, se aprovecha, nos supera para prevalecer en las cosas grandes y pequeñas, quiebra la unidad por la que Jesús ruega.

Ahora podríamos preguntarnos legítimamente por qué la unidad es tan importante. La Iglesia estuvo dividida en facciones durante décadas antes de que se escribiera el evangelio de Juan, tal como aprendemos en la Biblia misma. En la historia cristiana, dos cismas diferentes han competido por el título de “El Gran Cisma”, y si ustedes dedican tiempo a investigar temas ecuménicos en la Red, se enterarán de que cada lado cuenta con partidarios dispuestos a defender sus posiciones hasta bien entrada la noche. También nuestra amada Iglesia nació de (a) la Reforma inglesa y (b) del colonialismo, ninguno de los cuales se caracterizó por la unidad o la caridad.

Los cristianos tienen importantes desacuerdos internos. Yo no encuentro que eso sea un escándalo. Pero los desacuerdos nos impiden trabajar juntos. Ahí es donde radica el escándalo.

Para entender por qué, no necesitamos más que volver a nuestra primera lectura. Isaías nos muestra una visión de una Sión redimida en la cual el desierto florecerá y los lugares riesgosos se tornarán seguros. Creo que es importante advertir, en lo que respecta al Dios que se revela en el mundo, que no es sólo la humanidad la que es redimida en esta visión, sino la creación misma. Isaías dota a la creación de emociones. El yermo y el sequedal “se alegrarán”. El desierto “se regocijará”.  Y el pueblo de Dios  tendrá un cumplido objetivo.

Así pues, ¿cómo vamos de aquí hasta allá: de nuestra realidad actual a esa visión magnífica? Nuestra lectura nos dice que el Señor corregirá las cosas, viniendo con “retribución divina”.  Esa es una expresión favorable. El capítulo anterior de Isaías tiene cadáveres corruptos y montañas inundadas de sangre y algo tocante a los riñones de los carneros en lo que no entraremos esta noche.

Pero no necesitamos profundizar tanto en lo que ustedes podrían llamar la teoría del cambio de Isaías para entender que transformaciones de esa magnitud no advienen sin conflicto. Sabemos que debemos resistir a las potestades y los principados de nuestro tiempo, que un mundo de falsos valores no desaparecerá a menos que se le opongan personas que, para citar a Jesús, hayan sido “enviadas al mundo” y “santificadas en la verdad”.

Y recuerden. Esas son ustedes. Esa soy yo. Eso es todo el mundo en nuestras iglesias.

Y ¿cómo vamos a llevar a cabo esta obra que Dios nos ha encomendado? El autor de nuestra lectura de Efesios  nos “ruega” que la emprendamos “humildes y amables, pacientes, tolerantes unos con otros en amor, [esforzándonos] por mantener la unidad del Espíritu mediante el vínculo de la paz”.

Yo no sé ustedes, pero cuando me ocupo de resistir a los principados y las potestades, el ser humilde y amable no es mi primer impulso. Sin embargo, a esto es a lo que somos llamados. Pero adviertan una cosa: la persona que da este consejo se refiere a sí misma como un preso. Alguien que hizo algo por lo cual lo arrestaron.

No nos instan en este pasaje a ser sumisos, no nos piden o nos aconsejan que evitemos el conflicto, no nos recomiendan que nos abstengamos de expresar verdades peligrosas. Nos aconsejan sobre la manera de comportarnos cuando decimos esas verdades y —acaso lo más importante para los que nos reunimos aquí hoy—  nos advierten como comportarnos unos con otros, de manera que tengamos presente cuáles son nuestras verdades y cuál es la mejor manera de expresarlas.

Nuestras lecturas nos da una visión. Nos dan una comisión. Y nos dan una labor —labor que no podemos hacer sin la ayuda de Dios y que no concluiremos en nuestras vidas. Pero también nos dan quizás el mayor estímulo que posiblemente podamos tener: Jesús está rogando por nosotros.


July 8 dispatches from 79th General Convention in Austin

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 7:32pm

Bob Davis, left, and Genaro Lopez, center, lead an “eco tour” of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, including the solar panels installed on the top of the adjacent church-owned parking structure. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 8.

St. David’s invites closer look at conservation efforts, solar array

Those attending the 79th General Convention were encouraged July 8 to attend worship services at congregations around Austin, and those who chose to worship at St. David’s Episcopal Church a few blocks north of the Austin Convention Center were offered a bonus: an “eco tour” of the church led by two members of its Environmental Guilds.

The 10:15 a.m. tour group was a modest five people, including an Episcopal News Service reporter, but there was nothing small about the efforts underway at this downtown congregation since 2004.

Genaro Lopez, one of the tour guides, said the Environmental Guilds’ hope is that congregations churchwide can learn from St. David’s and replicate some of its conservation and environmentally friendly measures, from recycling programs to the centerpiece of the tour, a large solar panel array on top of the church-owned parking structure.

“It’s not that hard to do. It just takes organization and the will to do it,” Lopez said.

The solar array was completed and blessed in 2014 and features 576 solar panels that produce an estimated 200-megawatt hours of electricity a year, or enough to fulfill up to 75 percent of the church’s needs, said fellow tour guide Bob Davis. It cost $400,000, “but over a 25-year life, it will generate two or three times that,” Davis said, and most of the funding came from federal, state and city grants.

Most congregations may see adding a solar panel array as a giant step to take, and it took about 10 years of work for the St. David’s Environmental Guilds to make it a reality. But like St. David’s, other congregations are encouraged to start with easy measures and work up to bigger projects, Lopez said.

One of St. David’s first steps was to eliminate the plastic foam cups it had been using for coffee hour. Instead, it created coffee mug “trees,” so the mugs could be used, washed and reused. Here are a few other suggestions from St. David’s:

  • Recycling bins for everything imaginable, such as wine corks, batteries, eyeglasses, printer cartridges and pill bottles.
  • Wildlife habitat in a courtyard, where butterflies and hummingbirds now like to congregate.
  • Motion sensors for lights and LED lightbulbs
  • Composting of food scraps from the church kitchen
  • High-efficiency dishwasher
  • Beehives (the church decided not to keep its hives on site, placing them instead at a co-op organic garden out of town, and the honey is collected once a year and sold in the gift shop at St. David’s).

– David Paulsen

Special order in House of Deputies on Israel-Palestine set for July 9

The resolutions on Israel-Palestine were whittled down to one, D019, for a special order of business that, for now, is scheduled for the morning session of House of Deputies on July 9.

D019 isn’t the only Middle East resolution still alive. Two other resolutions were approved without discussion  July 8 as part of the deputies’ consent calendar – B021 on aid to Palestinian refugees and B003 reaffirming church’s stance that Jerusalem should be a shared holy city and calling Trump administration’s relocation of embassy an “obstacle to peace.”

And six more resolutions on related topics are on the consent calendar for July 10.

But the Rev. Sarah Lawton, chair of the deputies’ Social Justice and International Policy Committee, said D019 was the resolution most likely to generate some controversy, or at least extended debate. It is titled “Ending Church Complicity in the Occupation”  and includes language that would put the Episcopal Church on a path to end investments in companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

The House of Deputies was chosen as the house of initial action for all Israel-Palestine resolutions as part of an expedited process recommended by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president, to ensure these matters receive open, full and productive debate.

– David Paulsen

Deputies pass resolution recommending $5.8 million for church planting

House of Deputies passed Resolution A005 on July 8 without debate, sending to the House of Bishops a plan that would spend $5.8 million on church planting in the next triennium.

That amount is $1 million less than the resolution initially called for, but the Rev. Frank Logue, chair of the deputies’ Evangelism and Church Planting Committee said the approved total is “an amount key volunteers and the program staff feel will carry on current work well in the coming triennium.”

Another evangelism resolution, A006, was rejected by the committee. The resolution sought to collect additional demographic data on church leaders involved in church planting and ministry development as a way to encourage those ministries to greater reflect the communities they serve. Concerns were raised about how the data might be used in determining funding and whether the data’s benefits would merit the extra work.

– David Paulsen

79th General Convention hits 443 resolutions

The 79th General Convention may well be breaking a record. A total of 443 resolutions have been filed for the July 5-13 session. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, told the house at the beginning of the July 8 legislative session that 417 resolutions are “incomplete,” meaning that the house has acted on them.

Only 6 percent, 26 resolutions, could be put in that column at the beginning of the session.

“It may be a record breaking number,” she said. The house then approved a 66-resolution consent calendar, boosting the completed percentage to 21 percent.

“The consent calendar is your friend,” Jennings told the deputies. “Repeat that with me.”

Telling the deputies not to panic, Jennings still urge them to streamline their debate. She urged the deputies to not rise to ask her a parliamentary inquiry or other process questions until they had tried to get their question answered by a senior deputy or a designated “parliamentary resource deputy,” whom she asked to stand.

— Mary Frances Schjonberg

Purple Scarf Day on July 9 to support more female bishops

July 9, is Purple Scarf Day. All are invited to show support for more women in the episcopate by wearing a purple scarf that day. Currently, the House of Bishops is less than 9 percent women (24 women, 261 men). This movement was started by then Diocese of California Canon to the Ordinary Stefani Schatz, who had been working toward a more equal representation of women’s leadership prior to her death a year ago. She handed out purple scarves at the 2015 General Convention.

The Sisters of the Order of St. Helena are distributing the scarves from their booth in the Exhibit Hall. A purple scarf day gathering, open to women and men, will be held at 1:30 p.m. July 9 in the hallway in front of the worship space in the Austin Convention Center, and will include brief talks from a variety of people and prayers for women who have offered themselves to the election process, and others.

According to the planners, purple scarf day is a reminder that we can shift to a wider vision. “The vision is for a church in which women’s leadership is recognized and valued as well as men’s; in which our House of Bishops contains the perspectives, insights, and gifts of women rather than being a male-dominated hierarchy; in which seeing a variety of kinds of bishops helps all Episcopalians to recognize the image of God and the gifts for ministry in ourselves and in each other more fully,” the Rev. Lucia Lloyd, a deputy from the Diocese of Virginia, said.

— Episcopal News Service

General Convention revival sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 6:31pm

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Afffairs]  The following is the text of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon from the General Convention Revival at the Palmer Events Center on July 7.

Oh, my Lord! Let the whole Church say Amen! Say it again. Say it one more time! Amen! I’m out of breath for ya. This is a blessed night. It is a blessed night. We gather this night. Many of us are Episcopalians. Many of us are from other Christian traditions and families. Many of us are people of good will of no particular denomination or stripe. Some of us are probably Republicans. And, some of us are probably Democrats. Some of us are probably independents. But all of us are children of God. All of us! All of us! And that’s what we celebrate this night. We come together as the children of God. Like that old song used to say when I was a kid,

Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight.

All! All! All!

Allow me if you will then, to on your behalf thank all of those who have made this night possible. We thank you! We thank you! We thank you! And allow me also on your behalf to the thank the bishops and people of the Diocese of Texas. Thank you, Texas! Thank you, Texas! Thank you, Texas!  Texas!  Texas!

Well I’m in an awkward position because I have a feeling we are the only thing standing in the way of food. This is an unenviable position. So let me hasten to my text. From the New Testament, the Gospel of John, near the end of John’s gospel. In fact some scholars say chapter twenty ends the gospel. But if you look in your Bible, you’ll see there’s another chapter. And scholars have all sorts of theories about whether chapter twenty-one is an addition, an extension, or an appendix. I’m not a scholar. I’m a country preacher, and I know preachers, and you do too. I’ve got a feeling John finished his sermon in chapter twenty, the plane was landing, and he remembered somethin’ else. And took off and came around again. That’s what happened. So on his first landing, which is chapter twenty, he almost brings it to conclusion. And he does so with these words:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book. But these few are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

My brothers, my sisters, my siblings, God wants you to live. God wants us to live. God wants this world to live. God wants us to live! You can almost hear it in the text. John is tryin’ to land the plane, and he says there are many other things that I could’ve written,  but these few things that I have written, in this whole Gospel of John, the stories of Jesus turning water into wine, the story of Jesus meeting old Nicodemus, the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman that Bishop was talkin’ about, by the well, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 folk,  (ain’t she wonderful [referring to interpreter]?). All these stories, the story of Lazarus, the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, the story of him being raised from the dead, I could have told you more stories. This is Jesus Christ we’re talking about! This is not John Doe! This brother was incredible! I could be telling you stories all night, and you’d never get your barbecue! But these few stories I have told you so that you might come to believe. And believing means just trust. It doesn’t mean you understand. It doesn’t mean you got it figured it out. It means I’m just going to trust you. These have been written so that you might believe that Jesus really is, really is the Messiah, the Christ, the human face of God, the incarnation of God’s love in the life of a human person. Or as the Nicene Creed says:

God of God,
Light of Light,
Very God of very God

This is not John Doe we’re talking about! These have been written so that you might believe. That he really is the sign, the ultimate seal of how much God loves you. And this has been written so that you can have life. Life. Real life, not life you can barter for on E Bay. Real life! Life that the world did not give, and the world cannot take away. Life! Life! And in John’s gospel it’s incredible . . . I wanna make sure, how ya’ll doin’? I wanna make sure. We want to make sure everybody’s in. If you look at John’s gospel, the theme of life is woven from beginning to end. At the beginning of the gospel with that wonderful poetry,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. And the Word was God. In him was life.

And that life was the light of the world.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

This is life! Life with God! Life! And it goes on.  I’m not making this up. It’s in the book.  He says in the sixth chapter, “I am the bread of life.” In the fourth chapter, he says, “I am the waters of life.”  In the third chapter, Jesus meets, he meets, he meets the first Episcopalians. It’s true! I am convinced that Nicodemus in the third chapter of John was the first Episcopalian. If you read the text carefully, it says that Nicodemus, who was a member of the Pharisees, probably a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the high court, he was a sort of an aristocrat, smellin’ like an Episcopalian to me! But even better than that, John’s gospel says, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. Only an Episcopalian would try to get close to Jesus when nobody was looking. That’s an Episcopalian!  But Nicodemus was alright, ‘cause when push came to shove, Nicodemus defended Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin. And Nicodemus got with Joseph of Arimethea and made provision for the burial of Jesus. That’s also an Episcopalian. My reason for mentioning that, it was in the conversation with Nicodemus that Nicodemus said, “You know Lord, I want to know more about your teaching.” And Jesus said to him, “Nicodemus, don’t give me that jive.  We’re not on Oprah Winfrey”. He said Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” In the Greek it can be translated, born again, born anew, or born from above. And the point, I think, the only reason to be born is so that you can live! God wants you to live! God wants us to have life, and God wants all of his children to have life! I could go on but I won’t.

It goes on in John’s gospel, he says, “I am resurrection and I am life”. He says in the fourteenth chapter, “I am the way, and the truth and the life”. In the tenth chapter, “I have come that you might have life.” And then at the end of the gospel, I’ve written all these things so that you might believe and have life! The whole point is life! Life abundant meant for each. Life for rich folk and life for poor folk. Life for Democrats and life for Republicans. Life for Independents! Life for Deputies! Life for Bishops! Life for everybody! Life! Life! Life! Life. Life. And the truth is it’s so easy to be deceived about what makes for real life. John’s gospel noticed that Jesus wasn’t talking about biology. Biology is important. ‘Cause you got to start somewhere. But that’s the basics. I mean the truth, is we are all human beings, and biologically that is who we are as human beings. But biologically, we are simply part of the animal world. We’re basically like that pigeon in the House of Deputies. I leaned over to President Jennings and said, “Madam President, ya’ll got a pigeon in this house.” But that’s basic biology. We’re part of the animal world. And I’m going to be careful here, because I know Bishop Katharine is in here somewhere and she’s a scientist. I don’t want to get out of my pay grade, but I think my eighth grade teacher taught us in living things that members of the animal world have certain characteristics, that among these are three: they breathe, they eat, and they make more of their own kind.  Respiration, (sounds better in Spanish, I like that), respiration, consumption, and reproduction.  They eat, they breathe, they make more of their own kind. My wife has two cats who can do that. Actually they’ve been to the vet they can do two out of the three. And that’s fine, but the truth is, life is more than that. Jesus said as much. Is not your life more valuable than even the sparrows? Those priceless creatures of God, you are of more value than the sparrows. You need clothes, but how much do you need? Consider the Lillies of the field. They grow, they spread. They toss. They turn, and even your heavenly Father takes care of them. And how much more valuable are you? I’ve come to show you life! Not just biological life! Not just existence! Not just surviving!  Not just getting by!  To have life!  Life as I dreamed it!

Life as I intended! God wants you – are ya’ll with me?  And the truth is, I’m convinced, that love is the key to life. I have a theory, and I know there’s some theologians in this room, I’m gonna be careful, but I’m convinced that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is selfishness, and hatred is a derivative of selfishness. Yeah, I think we’re onto something here. See selfishness, or self-centeredness, or as the ancient mothers and fathers used to say that hubris, false pride, yeah, that false, self-centered pride that puts me in the center of the world, and you and God and everybody else on the periphery, that selfishness, it is the root of all evil. It is the source if every wrong. It is behind every bigotry. It is behind every injustice. It is the root cancer of every war. It is the source of every destruction. That selfishness destroys homes!  It will destroy churches! It will destroy nations! And left untethered, it will destroy creation! Selfishness! Selfishness! Selfishness!  Selfishness!

And love is the cure. I had to say that briefly at a wedding recently. I had to get it in in a little bit of time. I’m not going to go too much longer with you all either. But love is the Balm in Gilead. Love will heal the sin-sick soul. Love can lift us up when the gravity of selfishness will pull us down! Love can bind us together when selfishness will tear us apart. We actually have a television show which is the incarnation of selfishness. And actually there’s another word for selfishness, believe it or not. It’s called sin. That’s why we have Lent, a season to deal with sin. But love is the cure. We got a television show, and you know the one I’m talking about. It’s the television show Survivor. Now it’s just a television show, I know. But think about the premise of the show. The premise of Survivor is that you put all these people on a desert island, and the goal of their life, is to find life by getting everybody else kicked off the island. That’s a parable of selfishness! ‘Cause eventually selfishness gets everybody kicked off the island! And there’s nobody left but you! And you are incredibly boring by yourself!

But love brings us together. Love heals the wounds. Love can lift us up. Love is the source of setting us free, and it is the root source of life. In fact the truth is the only reason we’re here is because of love. Give me another minute or two. I mean stop and think about it for a moment. We Christians believe in God. We believe in one God, and yet we believe in God the Holy Trinity. Am I right about that? Please say that with more confidence, it really is true. We have one God and yet we know this one God in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But we don’t have three gods, one God! We just know this one God in magnificent ways! We got ourselves a many splendored God! And God you see, the Holy Trinity is our tradition’s way of telling us that God can embrace individuality and multiplicity all at the same time!  God is not worried about uniformity. God can have unity and diversity, not uniformity at the same time. Ya’ll hear what I’m gettin’ at now?  The truth is God has in God’s self everything God that needs to be whole and to be fulfilled, and to be complete. St. Augustine of Hippo, no flaming liberal to be sure, Augustine of Hippo once said, that the Trinity means that God is a community of love in God’s self. And First John, chapter four, verse says, “Beloved let us love because love is from God, and those who love are born of God, and know God because God is love. God is love! God is love! And guess what, guess what, that’s the reason we’re here! God is the Trinity. God had all the company God needed in God’s self. Which means God did not need y’all!  God did not need the world to be a headache. But love moves over and makes room and space for the other to be. Love says, let there be light!  Love says, let there be a world! Love says, let there be Andy! Love says, let there be Byron! Love says let there be Deena! Love says let there be Hector! Love says let there be Jeff, well Jeff, let me think about it. Love, the reason we are here, the reason there is a world because God is love. We are here. We have life because of love. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you that you love one another.” And after he rose from the dead, he asked Simon Peter, “You want to follow me now?” It’s not about mechanical following. He says, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said, “Yeah Lord, you know I love you.” “I want you to take care of my sheep. Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Lord, I just got through sayin’ I love you. Yes I love you. You knew that.” “Then take care of my sheep!” He says, “Simon son of John, DO YOU LOVE ME? If you love me, you will overcome your self- centeredness, and another will take you by the hand, and may lead you to where you do not want to go. But it won’t be all about you any more. It will be about following me!” And then Jesus said, “Now follow me.” The key to following Jesus, the key to being his disciples, the key to life is love! Is love! Is love. It’s love.

Well, I’m going to stop now. I’m getting older now. That’s an understatement. But you know the older I get the more I am convinced that we waste a lot of time in life in stuff that does not give life. And some of that’s human, we’re human. And that’s okay I’m not puttin’ all that down. But at the end of the day, we’ve gotta live. We’ve got to live in a world where little children are not separated from their parents at our borders. We gotta live in that kind of world. And the work of love is to make a world with the possibility of life for all is real. That is the work of love. And I really believe that’s why I am a Christian, better yet why I’m a follower of Jesus. A very faulty one, by the way, but a follower nonetheless. But I am because I believe Jesus was right. The way to life is the way of love. Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor. And while you’re at it, love yourself. That’s the key. Well, all this is predicated on a prior conviction, a conviction that (To audience and referring to interpreter: We do this all the time, you should have seen us in Honduras. We were even better.) It really is based on a conviction that God knows what God is talking about. Think about that for a second. Everything I’ve said, everything I’ve said is based on the conviction that Jesus knows what he’s talking about. That God knows what he’s talking about. If he doesn’t, then ya’ll might as well go eat barbecue right now!

I realized that years ago. I was a parish priest in Baltimore – Diocese of Maryland, there’s probably somebody around – and our youngest daughter was probably three years old, and my wife went off to teach school, and I think our oldest daughter went off with her, I can’t remember now. But they would go out and then I would take the young one to nursery school. (To audience and referring to interpreter: I don’t know what my sister said, but you all obviously enjoyed it.) Okay. So anyway, I’m there at home, I’m with Elizabeth and we were waiting a little while before we went off to school. And so I said, “Elizabeth I need you to go and put your raincoat on.” And she looks back at me, at three years old now, and here I am the rector of the rector of St. James Church, the third oldest African-American Church in the Episcopal Church. A historic church, the church that gave you Thurgood Marshall. Yeah!  This is a serious church!  Yeah! So here I am the rector of St. James and here’s this little three year old person. I said, “Elizabeth go put your rain coat on.” And she said, “Why?” I said, “Because it’s going to rain.” She ran to the window in the living room, and looked out the window and said, “But it’s not raining outside”. I said, “I know that, but it’s gonna rain later.” She said, “Mommy didn’t say it was gonna rain.” See you got to know the source of authority. I said, “I know Mommy didn’t say it was gonna rain, but Al Roker said it was gonna rain.” I tried to explain to her about weather forecasting, and I showed her the newspaper. And I finally said, “Why am I doing all this? Elizabeth just go and put your raincoat on!”

So we left the house and got in the car, and drove off to nursery school. And so I took her in school. And I came back out and I sat in the car. And I sat in the car. I said I can’t believe that little thing. She actually thought she knew better than I do. Here I am the rector of historic, St. James. Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, they all came out of that church. Yeas!  Here I am and she actually thought she knew more than I did. I spent more time in seminary than she’s even been on the earth. And she actually thought she knew more than I did! And it occurred to me that that must be what we look like to God!  That’s what! And I have this fantasy of God putting his hands on his cosmic hips, and just saying, they are so cute! They think they know so much, but don’t they know that I was the one that called this world into being in the first place? Don’t they know that I created the vast expanse of interstellar space? Don’t they know that I told old Moses, go down Moses, way down in Egypt land, and you tell old Pharaoh, let my people go? Don’t they know that I’m the author of freedom? Don’t they know that I’m the creator of justice? Don’t they know that I’m the God of love! Don’t they know that I came down as Jesus to show them the way, to show them the way of love, to show them the way to life, to show them how to live together! Don’t they know how much I love them! How much.

My brothers, my sisters, my siblings, we have work to do. To stand for Christianity, a way of being Christian that looks like Jesus of Nazareth.  A way of being Christian that is grounded and based on love. A way of being Christian that is not ashamed to be called people of love. So go from this place and be people of the way. Go from this place as people of Jesus. Go from this place as people of love! Go from this place and heal our lands! Go from this place and heal our world! Go from this place until justice rolls down! Go from this place until the nightmare is over! Go from this place until God’s dream is realized! Go from this place and help us live!

God love ya! God bless ya! And GO!

Go! Go!

Impeccable pigeon captivates 79th General Convention with real, digital presence

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 5:29pm

The General Convention Pigeon is spotted on the House of Deputies floor in this photo tweeted by Rev. Diana L. Wilcox.

[Episcopal News Service –Austin, Texas] It arrived early to the 79th General Convention and soon was swooping through the House of Deputies and strutting through the neighboring Exhibit Hall.

At times it is elegant trickster; at others it is a small scavenger.

It’s the General Convention Pigeon.

On July 7 the pigeon attempted to join debate in the House of Deputies, stepping to the counter at Microphone 2. Apparently, it was not aware that those wishing to be recognized by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, the deputies’ president, needed to insert their “smart cards” into their voting devices to enter the queue of debaters.

@HODPlatform There is a deputy who wishes to speak at microphone 2. pic.twitter.com/FxatNSymaJ

— Curtis Hamilton (@CDHton) July 7, 2018

It has no such equipment because it has not acquired the proper credential. It was reportedly wandering around in the convention registration area later on July 7, perhaps attempting to secure official permission.

I tried. I really did. But it was hard to insert the smart card without opposable thumbs! https://t.co/msQyxJBNVg

— General Convention Pigeon (@gc79pigeon) July 7, 2018

Still, it is the only creature with full access to the house without the needed red credential holder around its neck. This seems to be attributable to its powers of propulsion.

However, it has acquired something potentially much more valuable than #GC79 credentials: The Twitter handle @gc79pigeon and, as of the writing of this story, 608 followers. (The bird follows six other Twitter accounts, including @episcopal_news.)

General Convention Pigeon, who claims to be a “Nested Episcopalian” similar to the human designation of “Cradle Episcopalian,” appears to be much gentler than Austin’s grackles, which have been dive bombing people on foot and on bicycles, sometimes landing on their heads (including this reporter).

In an interview with Episcopal News Service during July 7 and 8 (the bird is busy) via Twitter direct message, @gc79pigeon said it hopes it is “part of the movement of the spirit that brings something to keep people relaxed, laughing, and in good spirits when things get tense.”

The bird cited the Diocese of Fort Worth’s Deputy Bingo and a number of Flat Jesuses making their way around the Exhibit Hall. The fact that the deputies are aflutter over the General Convention Pigeon is reminiscent of the house’s Bonnie Ball game during the 77th General Convention in 2012.

Asked by ENS if it had to fly a long way to get to #GC79, the bird reported having flown 1,080 miles from Salt Lake City, the site of the 78th General Convention in 2015. “Good workout,” @gc79pigeon noted.

The bird’s sense of the passage of time is apparently unlike that of humans. During the interview, it professed to be young. “I’ve been an Episcopalian since I was a chick,” it pecked. “Now, given that was only a few months ago, that’s nowhere near the experience of everyone gathered at General Convention. But, when measured in bird years? Yes. Nested Episcopalian.”

The bird appears also to be visiting members of its extended family.

OMG SARAH IS HERE. You know what they say about birds of a feather… they look for stale donuts together.

Conversaciones TEC Ofrecen Una Manera Única de Participar en la #GC79

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 4:51pm

Una de las ofertas únicas en la Convención General de este trienio son las Conversaciones TEC (Conversaciones de la Iglesia Episcopal), que se realizarán durante tres sesiones conjuntas de la Cámara de Obispos y la Cámara de Diputados durante la próxima semana. Cada conversación ofrece oradores múltiples, presentaciones de video e interludios interesantes alrededor de tres prioridades de esta reunión: reconciliación racial, evangelismo y cuidado de la creación. Los oradores representan a líderes internacionales, episcopales conocidos y las nuevas voces prometedoras en la Iglesia.

Cada Conversación TEC estará disponible en vivo para que las personas puedan participar simultáneamente con los diputados y obispos. Cada una también estará disponible por Internet, con materiales de apoyo, para uso local en las iglesias en una fecha posterior.

Los oradores de la primera Conversación TEC incluyen: a un antiguo líder reformado de una organización mundial racista de las cabezas rapadas, Arno Michaelis; la directora del Centro Episcopal Absalón Jones para la Sanación Racial en Atlanta, Georgia, la Dra. Catherine Meeks; y la Reverenda Nancy Frausto, natural de Zacatecas, México y sacerdote beneficiaria de DACA (Acción Diferida para Personas Llegadas en la Infancia). La Conversación de Reconciliación Racial tendrá lugar el 6 de julio de 10:30 de la mañana a 12:00 del mediodía, hora Central. Una guía de discusión se puede encontrar aquí.

La segunda Conversación TEC se enfoca en Evangelismo. Los oradores destacados incluyen: a la Reverenda Dra. Lauren Winner, prolífica autora, vicaria y profesora asociada de Espiritualidad Cristiana en Duke Divinity School; el Rvdmo. Alan Scarfe, obispo de Iowa, cuyo profundo compromiso con la renovación espiritual y el pensamiento creativo ha inspirado un año de avivamientos en todo el estado y ha dinamizado a su electorado; y el reverendo Daniel Vélez-Rivera, cuyo ministerio ha consistido en plantar nuevos ministerios latinos y crear congregaciones sostenibles en dos idiomas. La Conversación Sobre Evangelismo es a partir de las 2:30 a 4:00 de la tarde, Hora Central, el sábado 7 de julio. Una guía de discusión está disponible aquí.

La tercera y última Conversación TEC considerará nuestro Cuidado de la Creación como cristianos comprometidos. Al salvaguardar la integridad de la creación, ¿cómo abrazamos el uso responsable y fomentamos más conversaciones sobre el clima y la fe? Los oradores incluyen al Arzobispo de Ciudad del Cabo, el Rvdmo. Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, quien tiene un currículum extenso sobre liderazgo ético y administración; Bernadette Demientieff, nativa de Alaska y firme protectora de tierras y aguas sagradas indígenas; y la Reverenda Stephanie McDyre Johnson, planificadora ambiental y educadora y copresidenta del Consejo Asesor de la Iglesia Episcopal sobre el Cuidado de la Creación. La Conversación sobre Cuidado de la Creación se llevará a cabo el martes 10 de julio a las 10:30 de la mañana y concluirá a las 12:00 del mediodía, Hora Central. La guía de discusión se puede encontrar aquí.

Siga las Conversaciones TEC desde su casa, reúna amigos en la iglesia para participar, o visite la Convención General como visitante de un día. Los pases de visitantes están disponibles por $50 por un día en el Centro de Convenciones de Austin.

La 79.ª Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal * Palabras de Apertura de parte de la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Rda. Gay Clark Jennings *

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 4:49pm
La presidente Jennings dijo estas palabras en la sesión de apertura de 79.ª la Convención General el 4 de julio: July 4, 2018

¡Buenas tardes y bienvenidos a la 79.ª Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal! Estoy tan feliz de tener la oportunidad de darles la bienvenida a Austin que acepté ocupar lo que ampliamente se reconoce como el espacio de conversación menos codiciado en toda la cristiandad: la persona que viene después de Michael Curry.

En ese sentido, necesito confesarles algo. Cuando el Obispo Primado me envió un mensaje de texto para decirme que había sido invitado a predicar en la Boda Real, pensé que estaba bromeando, algo que se sabe que él hace. La conversación fue algo como esto:

Él: “Solo quería que supieras que el Príncipe Harry y Meghan Markle me han invitado a predicar en su boda”.

Yo: “Muy gracioso. ¿Has perdido la cabeza?”

Él: “Eso es más o menos lo que dijo mi esposa”.

Yo: “Alguien obviamente ha interceptado tu teléfono y me ha enviado este mensaje de texto”. Creo que debes llamar al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, a Jeff Sessions, o al director interino de la CIA”.

Él, otra vez: (Esta es la mejor parte). “La noticia es confidencial hasta que sea anunciada por Kensington Palace. Por favor, mantén esto en secreto, aunque no sé por qué alguien querría saberlo”.

Pues resultó ser, que todos estábamos muy emocionados de saberlo. Michael, a nombre de la Iglesia Episcopal entera, quiero expresar mi gratitud no solo por su sermón que tomó por asalto al mundo, sino también por la gracia y el buen humor con los que ha soportado el frenesí de los medios y por su inquebrantable determinación para usar su tiempo bien merecido siendo el centro de atención para proclamar las buenas nuevas del amor, la misericordia y la justicia de Dios. Usted estableció un ejemplo para todos nosotros, y estoy muy agradecida por su liderazgo y su amistad.

Hoy es el 4 de julio, Día de la Independencia aquí en los Estados Unidos. Especialmente en este día, estoy agradecido por las palabras fieles de nuestro Obispo Primado sobre la crisis del liderazgo moral y político que actualmente atrapa a los Estados Unidos y la crisis de los inmigrantes que buscan asilo en la frontera aquí en Texas.

El Día de la Independencia es un día en el cual algunos episcopales en los Estados Unidos se han acostumbrado a celebrar nuestra cómoda relación con el poder del estado. Pero el leccionario del día de hoy no presume de tanto. Y dado que nuestra Eucaristía de apertura no es hasta mañana, pasemos un poco de tiempo con estas lecturas ahora.

En el pasaje de hoy del Deuteronomio, leemos: “El Señor su Dios es el Dios de dioses y el Señor de señores; él es el Dios soberano, poderoso y terrible, que no hace distinciones ni se deja comprar con regalos; que hace justicia al huérfano y a la viuda, y que ama y da alimento y vestido al extranjero que vive entre ustedes. Ustedes, pues, amen al extranjero, porque también ustedes fueron extranjeros en Egipto”.

En este día en que algunos de nosotros estamos quizás más inclinados a sentirnos en casa en los Estados Unidos, la Biblia nos dice que no nos pongamos tan cómodos. Éramos extraños una vez. Es posible que pudiéramos ser extraños nuevamente algún día. Y se nos ordena amar al extraño, incluso cuando hacerlo interrumpe nuestra cómoda relación con los poderes temporales y los principados.

Entonces, aquí en el primer día de lo que espero y creo será una convención productiva, esta lectura me hace sentir incómoda. Porque quiero que nos instalemos para hacer el trabajo esencial, dirigido por el Espíritu, de gobernar la iglesia. Quiero que el aire acondicionado funcione bien, quiero que las líneas del almuerzo sean cortas, quiero que haya un buen café y acceso a Internet excelente, y quiero que la carpeta virtual funcione perfectamente. Quiero que podamos ponernos cómodos y hacer nuestro trabajo.

Pero incluso si suceden todas esas cosas; por favor, Dios, permite que ocurran todas esas cosas, no podemos perder de vista a los padres y niños en la frontera que han sido destrozados por nuestro gobierno. No podemos perder de vista el hecho de que, debido a una ley de inmigración estatal dura, aquellos de nosotros, como yo, que tenemos el privilegio de los blancos y el privilegio conferido por la ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos podemos movernos por este lugar con menos miedo que algunos de nuestros compañeros episcopales.

Y cuando debatimos las resoluciones de inmigración en los comités legislativos y en las sedes de ambas cámaras, debemos sentirnos lo suficientemente incómodos como para recordar que estos son asuntos de vida o muerte para muchos episcopales en los Estados Unidos y en los otros países que componen nuestra Iglesia. No todos estaremos de acuerdo con la legislación que se nos presentará. Pero la falta de unanimidad no cambia el hecho de que se nos ordena amar al extraño, porque todos éramos extranjeros en la tierra de Egipto.

Entonces, ¿cómo podemos nosotros instalarnos para hacer el trabajo que la iglesia nos ha enviado a hacer aquí mientras mantenemos nuestra identidad como extraños? La lectura de Hebreos nombrada para hoy nos muestra el camino.

Por fe, Abraham, cuando Dios lo llamó, obedeció y salió para ir al lugar que él le iba a dar como herencia. Salió de su tierra sin saber a dónde iba.

Puedo identificarme completamente con eso. Si ha intentado encontrar nuestra oficina de tecnología de la información aquí en el centro de convenciones, probablemente ustedes también puedan identificarse. (Por cierto, tecnología está en la Sala 15 aquí en el Centro de Convenciones en el cuarto piso y Darvin Darling y su equipo están haciendo un trabajo increíble en nuestro nombre). Regreso a Hebreos.

Por la fe que tenía vivió como extranjero en la tierra que Dios le había prometido. Vivió en tiendas de campaña, lo mismo que Isaac y Jacob, que también recibieron esa promesa. Porque Abraham esperaba aquella ciudad que tiene bases firmes, de la cual Dios es arquitecto y constructor.

Voy a saltar un par de versículos que hacen comentarios muy cuestionables sobre ciertas personas que son demasiado mayores para hacer algo bueno. Pero después de eso, la lectura continúa:

Todas esas personas murieron sin haber recibido las cosas que Dios había prometido; pero como tenían fe, las vieron de lejos, y las saludaron reconociéndose a sí mismos como extranjeros de paso por este mundo. Y los que dicen tal cosa, claramente dan a entender que todavía andan en busca de una patria. Si hubieran estado pensando en la tierra de donde salieron, bien podrían haber regresado allá; pero ellos deseaban una patria mejor, es decir, la patria celestial. Por eso, Dios no se avergüenza de ser llamado el Dios de ellos, pues les tiene preparada una ciudad. (Hebreos 11: 8-16)

Mis amigos, mientras que algunos de nosotros podemos estar bastante cómodos en nuestra vida cotidiana, esta lectura es sobre nosotros. Nosotros, los episcopales del siglo XXI, todos nosotros, somos extraños y extranjeros que buscamos una patria. Hemos dejado atrás la iglesia institucional que conocíamos tan bien y que hacía sentir cómodos por lo menos a algunos de nosotros y a muchos de nosotros incómodos y personas no gratas. Hemos dejado de creer en nuestro lugar preferente en la élite gobernante de los Estados Unidos y la garantía de que nuestros legados siempre proporcionarán más de lo que necesitamos. Y muchos de nosotros nos estamos reconciliando con el hecho de que podemos ver solo desde lejos la plena realización de la promesa de Dios para el futuro de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Es tentador pensar en, o incluso anhelar, la tierra que nos queda. Pero Dios nos asegura que nuestra verdadera identidad es como extraños y extranjeros que buscan un país mejor. Dios nos llama a no ponernos demasiado cómodos en esta tierra, a no valorar nuestra ciudadanía más que nuestro compromiso de amar al extraño, a no atesorar nuestras tradiciones o nuestros edificios, o incluso nuestra identidad como diputados y obispos, por encima de nuestra identidad como herederos de la promesa de Dios y como habitantes de la ciudad de Dios.

Entonces, ¿cómo debemos proceder con los asuntos de la iglesia? Nuestro reglamento de orden y documentos gobernantes y procedimiento parlamentario no definen nuestra identidad. Estos son más bien las herramientas a través de las cuales podemos escuchar las voces de todos los bautizados en nuestra vida común, y establecen para nosotros las formas en que podemos ser guiados por el Espíritu para hablar como uno contra el racismo, la violencia, la pobreza y toda la injusticia que se acumula a nuestro alrededor de maneras insoportables. Y esas herramientas nos dan formas de abrir nuestras mesas y nuestros altares y nuestros corredores de poder, y aceptar las muchas veces en que hemos fallado o nos hemos negado a ver a Dios el uno con el otro.

Pero la manera como utilizamos estas herramientas de gobierno depende de nosotros. Ya sean diez diputados por diez años u obispos de treinta y dos años como mi querido amigo Arthur Williams de Ohio, o si esta es la primera vez que vemos el interior de una sala de convenciones, podemos elegir cómo habitamos el proceso legislativo.

En la lectura del Evangelio de hoy, Jesús tiene algunos consejos:

Has oído que se dijo: “Amarás a tu prójimo y odiarás a tu enemigo”. Pero yo te digo: “Ama a tus enemigos y ora por aquellos que te persiguen, para que sean hijos de tu Padre en el cielo; porque él hace salir su sol sobre malos y buenos, y hace llover sobre justos e injustos.

Porque si amas a los que te aman, ¿qué recompensa tienes? ¿No hacen hasta los recaudadores de impuestos lo mismo? Y si saludan sólo a sus hermanos y hermanas, ¿qué más están haciendo que otros? ¿Ni siquiera los gentiles hacen lo mismo? Sé perfecto, por lo tanto, como tu Padre celestial es perfecto.

Les diré en este momento que soy terrible para ser perfecta. Y también les diré que, aunque parezca rebuscado en este momento pensar en cualquier persona en este centro de convenciones como un enemigo por el que deben orar, es posible que tenga una opinión diferente después de diez días sin dormir lo suficiente, sin suficiente ejercicio, y un montón de reuniones.

Amigos, nos estamos embarcando en un trabajo duro y sagrado. En los próximos diez días, hablaremos sobre algunos de los temas que más nos afectan: el matrimonio, el Libro de Oración, la violencia armada, el racismo, la explotación sexual y el acoso, y mucho más. Mientras debatimos, escuchemos. Mientras deliberamos, oremos. Y mientras votamos, hagámoslo con caridad para aquellos con quienes no estamos de acuerdo. Hagamos nuestro trabajo como extraños y forasteros, con destino al reino de Dios.

El vicepresidente de la Cámara de Diputados, Byron Rushing, es fiel en su recordatorio anual a la iglesia de que la frase “los fundadores de este país obtuvieron libertad para sí mismos y para nosotros” en el Día de la Independencia no son precisos. Byron sugiere que en su lugar utilicemos el recopilatorio titulado “Para la Nación” (For the Nation) en la página 258. Oremos:

Señor Dios Todopoderoso, tú has hecho todos los pueblos de la tierra para tu gloria, para servirte en libertad y en paz: dale a la gente de nuestro(s) país(es) un fervor por la justicia y la fortaleza de la paciencia, para que podamos usar nuestra libertad conforme con tu voluntad de gracia; por Jesucristo nuestro Señor, que vive y reina contigo y el Espíritu Santo, un solo Dios, por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.

Schentrups deliver emotional plea to end gun violence

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 2:48pm

Philip Schentrup speaks to those attending the public witness against gun violence on July 6. His daughter, Carmen, was among those killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Evelyn Schentrup watches. The family are members of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Florida. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] On the gentle slopes of Brush Square Park in downtown Austin and under the canopy of live oak trees, hundreds gathered on July 8 to hear gut-wrenching testimony from Philip and April Schentrup, Episcopalians whose daughter Carmen was one of 17 students and educators killed by a gunman at Parkland, Florida’s, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Standing on a stage surrounded by dozens of bishops, the Schentrups shared their grief and emotional journey in the aftermath of their daughter’s murder on Feb. 14, 2018. “I was unable to talk, unable to eat, unable to sleep, barely able to carry on,” Philip Schentrup said as his wife, April, son, Robert, and daughter, Evelyn, stood at his side.

“I was filled with anger and despair,” he said. “Why would God take my daughter from my family, why would God take one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known, why would God inflict so much pain and suffering?”

Carmen was shot four times with an AR-15 rifle by Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who walked into the school building, killed 16 others and wounded another 17.  The Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, one of the organizers of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, shows one of the crosses being distributed to remember the 96 people who die from gun violence every day in the United States. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

The Schentrups were invited to speak by Bishops United Against Gun Violence, an organization comprised of 80 Episcopal bishops working to curtail gun violence in the United States. The bishops are in Austin to attend the nearly two-week 79th General Convention, a span in which another 1,000 are expected to suffer from gun violence.

Schentrup led the bishops and spectators through the crisis of faith caused “by the evil that had been wrought on my family.”

“I searched for an answer to this senselessness and questioned everything,” he said as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry listened in the background. “The world was upside down and my once boundless sense of hope and happiness was destroyed by a monster.”

Finally, he said, “I had what I believe is a moment of inspired reflection. I understood at that moment that I had it all wrong. God did not intend to inflict deep and lasting damage on my family. God is saddened by Carmen’s murder and all the violence that people are allowed to inflict on one another. God weeps for all of his children.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry speaks to the crowd, as April and Philip Schentrup look on. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Schentrup said that “God gave us free will, the ability to do good, to be complacent, to inflict harm. God gave us the prophets, his son and the Holy Spirit to show us the way. God wants us all to live into his path of love and kindness. I realized that God’s plan was simple. He gave us the ability to choose to love and to care for one another and he taught us how to do it.”

“Evil and violence happen in this world because we allow it, not because God allows it,” he said. “We suffer violence because we collectively allow it. God is waitng for us to choose to make the world he wants.”

Although a daunting challenge, Schentrup said, “I have hope. I hope in Jesus. I have hope in the hearts and the humanity of people. I have hope that just as people of faith led the fight to overcome segregation, laws that demean people, through love we can end senseless violence.”

“I ask everyone here to step up, to choose to make the world a better place and then to act,” he said.

April Schentrup wipes away tears as she speaks about her daughter, Carmen, who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. With her are her son Robert, daughter Evelyn and husband Philip. The family are members of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Florida. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Following her husband’s remarks, April Schentrup told the crowd that as a nation “we have stood by and listened as others have been gunned down in movie theaters, concert venues, places of worship and offices. The truth is in America gun violence happens every day and devastates families.”

“We have convinced ourselves that we can’t doing anything to fix it or that it can’t happen to us,” she said. “I’m here to tell you that it can happen.”

She said the nation makes guns too easily accessible and “all too easy for those who shouldn’t have them to own them. Gun manufactures have made weapons and arsenals so destructive than anyone can cause severe devastation within a matter of seconds.”

Schentrup said she is an “advocate for change. Gun violence is a complex issue that will take more than just thoughts and prayers. It will take many working hands and strong voices. Enough is enough”

Abigail Zimmerman, a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Waco, Texas, talks about the school walk-out she helped organize in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Looking on are Philip Schentrup, whose daughter was killed in that shooting, and Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Abigail Zimmerman, a ninth-grader and Episcopalian from Waco, Texas, who co-led a school walkout March 14 in response to the Parkland massacre, told the bishops and audience that young people have “grown up as shooting after shootings after shooting have plagued our country and we have had enough gun violence.”

Since the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and six adults were killed, she said there have been 239 additional school shootings in which 138 people, mostly children, have died. “But this time the survivors refused to let it continue,” she said. “They found their voices. We found our voice. I found my voice. I wanted to do something, I had to do something.”

She and her classmates organized the walk-out at her school on March 14 that drew about 300 students and teachers outside to advocate for an end to gun violence. She encourages universal background checks for gun purchases, banning assault rifles, raising the minimum age to purchase a gun and increasing the funding for mental health and counseling programs in schools.

Bishops gather before the start of the public witness against gun violence July 8 in Austin. The event was organized by Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Photo: Melodie Woerman/Episcopal News Service

Although she has had heated arguments with those who oppose her views, Zimmerman vowed that “I know what I am doing will make a difference and so I persevere. I am determined to make sure that my little brother, my children, my grandchildren will not have to be afraid of going to school.”

“I encourage all of you to make change happen,” she said. “Educate yourself, your friends. Vote. Join organizations devoted to common sense gun legislation. Write letters. Do whatever you can to make a difference. Change must happen and it must happen now.”

— Mike Patterson is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. He is a member of ENS General Convention reporting team and can be reached at rmp231@gmail.com.