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Mothers’ Union members learn about gender-based violence as part of 16 days of activism

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 2:15pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A senior police officer has briefed members of the Mothers’ Union in Northern Ireland about the extent of sexual and domestic violence in the area. Detective Chief Inspector Anne Marks, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland told members of the union in the Down and Dromore diocese that one in every 18 calls to the police service relates to domestic abuse; and that 1,393 reports of sexual assault were reported to the police in a 12-month period. The briefing took place ahead of the international “16 Days of Activism” campaign, which begins Nov. 25.

Read the entire article here.

 

Diocese of Newark to revise diocesan profile after discovering plagiarism during bishop search

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 1:58pm

[Diocese of Newark] The Diocese of Newark is revising the diocesan profile it published to guide the search for its next bishop after discovering that a section of the profile was plagiarized from the profile of the Diocese of Bethlehem.

The Rev. Joseph Harmon, interim vice president of the diocesan Standing Committee, announced Nov. 20 that the search process is paused until Jan. 2, 2018, at which time the application process, which had closed on Nov. 17, will be reopened until Jan. 10 to accommodate candidates who might wish to apply based on the revised profile.

This delay in the search process will not necessitate a change in dates for the episcopal election on May 19, or the consecration of the eleventh bishop of Newark on Sept. 22, Harmon said.

Bishop Mark Beckwith, who has led the diocese since 2007, called for the election of a successor when he announced in February that he planned to retire.

The Standing Committee’s statement follows:

Nov. 20, 2017

Last week, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark became aware of an issue of plagiarism involving our diocesan profile for the search for our eleventh bishop. This act is an unacceptable breach of trust and disruptive to the otherwise prayerful discernment of everyone presently engaged in our search process.

We discovered that the profile section entitled “The Bishop We Seek,” was plagiarized in its entirety from the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem’s search profile. This regrettable incident reveals poor judgement on the part of an individual, who subsequently resigned from the Search/Nominating Committee which created the profile. Our Standing Committee has offered our deepest apologies to Bishop Sean Rowe and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem.

After consulting with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development, who oversees matters pertaining to episcopal elections for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, we have modified our search process timeline and are working to prayerfully revise the profile.

The profile has been removed from our diocesan website. A revised profile will be released on January 2, 2018, after a period of prayerful reflection. At that time, the application process will be re-opened and will remain open until January 10, 2018. The screening of our applicant pool will take place in January, culminating in the extension of invitations to a discernment retreat for selected applicants, scheduled for February 19 – 22, 2018.

Individuals who have already submitted their applications have been notified personally of the temporary interruption of our search process and they have been advised that should they wish to continue in the process based on the content of the amended profile, they will have an opportunity to update their essays.

Our electing convention remains scheduled for May 19, 2018 and the Consecration/Ordination will take place on September 22, 2018 with The Most Rev. Michael Curry presiding.

As we seek to join God in shaping our future, we trust that God’s faithfulness and grace will continue to guide us, and ask you to continue to hold our Diocese and our search for the eleventh bishop in prayer.

Supreme Court rules in favor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:58am

[The Episcopal Church in South Carolina] Ruling in favor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the South Carolina Supreme Court has denied two motions from a disassociated group and upheld its August 2 decision that property and assets of the Diocese of South Carolina, and most of its parishes, must remain with the Episcopal Church.

The Nov. 17 orders can be found here: denial of rehearing motion and denial of recusal motion.

The rulings reject two motions that were filed by a breakaway group that left the Episcopal Church in 2012. One sought a rehearing of the case, while the other asked that Justice Kaye Hearn, one of the five justices who wrote the opinion, be recused, and her opinion vacated.

The court voted 2-2 on the rehearing motion; a majority would have been required in order to grant a rehearing. Hearn did not vote.

The court voted unanimously to deny the motion seeking Hearn’s recusal. Justice Jean Toal, who was serving as chief justice at the time the court heard the case, noted that “an adverse decision is no reason to excuse a nearly 2 1/2-year delay in making a request for recusal.” 

“While I make no criticism of the respondents’ lawyers for filing the motions to recuse and for vacature, I am disappointed in the tone of these filings. They are unreasonable, harsh criticisms of a highly accomplished judge and a person of great decency and integrity,” Justice Toal said.

Statement from Bishop Gladstone B. Adams of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

We give thanks for the clarity that the State Supreme Court’s decision provides and we are grateful for the thoughtful and difficult work the justices have undertaken in this case.

From the time this lawsuit was filed against the Episcopal Church, the hope of reconciliation has been our guiding principle. We believe this is what the Lord Jesus would expect of us and it is consistent with the teachings of St. Paul who said in his second letter to the Church in Corinth, “All this is from God, who reconciled himself to us in Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” We renew our commitment to this hard work of reconciliation in the days to come.

We understand that the many people in the parishes affected by this ruling may be experiencing pain, fear and confusion. Let me say to all that The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is committed to finding a path that will allow the people of God to continue to live their lives as a part of the Anglican Communion in and through the Episcopal Church. As former bishop of South Carolina William Alexander Guerry said more than 100 years ago, “If we are to be truly Catholic, as Christ himself is Catholic, then we must have a church broad enough to embrace within its communion every living human soul.”

The Episcopal Church seeks to be an expression of faith in Christ that welcomes all to his expansive table. Our prayer is that every person in every parish of the diocese will join in working and praying together to bring healing to the church, the body of Christ, in this part of South Carolina.

— The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams III, of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

Episcopal Church’s advocacy fights hunger at intersection of public policy, Christian values

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 9:57am

Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World’s government relations director, speaks at a kickoff worship service for the nonprofit advocacy organizations 2017 lobby day in Washington, D.C. The service was hosted by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Photo: Bread for the World

[Episcopal News Service] Every can of food donated to a church food pantry is welcome support for someone struggling to afford the next meal, though in the broader battle against hunger, there is nothing to match the scale of U.S. government spending.

The federal program known commonly as food stamps, as one example, is a multibillion-dollar safety net credited with raising millions of Americans out of poverty. And while Episcopal congregations’ food ministries can respond directly to their communities’ needs, the Episcopal Church also advocates at the federal level for programs that have a national and even international impact on food security.

‘Food and Faith’

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

Episcopal News Service’s “Faith and Food” series is highlighting ways the Episcopal Church is involved in efforts to fight hunger. Previous stories mined the scriptural basis for such work and detailed the ways some congregation-level ministries are making a difference, often through their partnerships with regional and national feeding agencies.

The Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations fights hunger at the intersection of public policy and Christian values – advocating based on General Convention resolutions by monitoring legislation, coordinating with partner agencies, developing relationships with lawmakers and encouraging Episcopalians’ activism through its Episcopal Public Policy Network.

“We as Episcopalians want to support the programs that help those who are living in poverty,” said Office of Government Relations Director Rebecca Blachly. “We want to show that there is a constituency of people who care about these big issues, and then we also need to be able to do our work in government relations.”

The stakes are high this year as Congress and the Trump administration wrestle over a federal budget and tax reforms that could result in sharp cuts in discretionary spending. An estimated 95 percent of food assistance in the United States is funded by the federal government, compared to private giving, according to a policy paper the Episcopal Church released this year on “Appropriations for Domestic Human Needs.”

The Episcopal Church amplified its anti-hunger advocacy starting in hunger in May, when it joined with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other Christian advocacy partners on the prayer, advocacy and fasting campaign called “For Such a Time as This.” The fasting is scheduled for the 21st of each month during the current Congress because that is when monthly food stamps benefits typically run out for families participating in what is officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

 

“We are asking you to join with other Christians and other people of goodwill to help our government reflect the best of the American spirit by feeding the hungry, caring for our children, and making sure that everyone has the opportunities for life and liberty not only in our country, but in our world,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a message kicking off the campaign.

About 400 people, including Episcopalians, participated in Bread for the World’s Lobby Day in June after gathering for breakfast and worship at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church near Capitol Hill. Photo: Bread for the World

Episcopalians also joined with the ecumenical organization Bread for the World for its annual lobby day in June, which began with a breakfast and worship service at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church near Capitol Hill. About 400 participants spent the day meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to persuade them to support programs that alleviate hunger.

Curry has often stressed that the Episcopal Church’s political activism isn’t based in partisanship but rather in values, as guided by resolutions passed by General Convention. Those resolutions have pledged the church’s support for numerous federal programs, some administered by government agencies and others administered by local organizations, including churches in some cases.

“God has provided for all of creation, forming a world of sufficiency for all,” a 2015 resolution states. “Inequality exists not because there is not enough, but because of the way resources are distributed; we depend on God and one another and are commanded to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted.”

Programs like SNAP, the national school lunch program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, and food assistance available through the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC program “lift and keep people out of poverty and address basic food and health care needs in vulnerable populations,” the General Convention resolution says.

Episcopalians can add their voices, make a difference

SNAP alone provided $66.5 billion in benefits to more than 44 million Americans in 2016 to help them buy food. It was credited with lowering the U.S. poverty rate by 8 percent in 2009, at the end of the last recession.

“SNAP is a wonderful, effective program,” said the Rev. Diane Riley, a vocational deacon from the Diocese of New Jersey who has worked for years toward hunger and poverty relief. “If you cut that you will never be able to make up that food with your food drives.”

Episcopalians like Riley can get involved in the political process in a range of ways that reflect their faith values, from calling or emailing the office of their elected representatives to paying a visit to the representative’s district office and arranging to meet with the lawmaker or staff.

When those kinds of direct appeals are based in a deep personal commitment to an issue, they can have a big impact on policy decisions, said Riley, who serves at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Montville, New Jersey.

“Our faith calls us to think deeply about everything we do,” she said. “I know that’s daunting, but it doesn’t have to be daunting.”

The Office of Government Relations is a key resource for Episcopalians who are thinking deeply about hunger issues but don’t know where to start. They can subscribe to the office’s Episcopal Public Policy Network, or EPPN, and receive emailed policy alerts letting them know to contact their representatives when certain legislation is advancing. Some of those alerts allow recipients to fill out simple forms with their messages to lawmakers and provide guidance on what to say when making those contacts. Episcopalians also are encouraged to learn more about the issues on the Office of Government Relations website.

The office also partners with other organizations, like Bread for the World, to coordinate anti-hunger advocacy. Bread for the World has led planning of the “For Such a Time as This” fasting campaign.

“The Episcopal Church has actually been one of our biggest partners in regards to pushing Congress to support proposals to help end hunger and poverty,” Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World’s government relations director told ENS. He cited the Episcopal Church’s involvement in the “For Such a Time as This,” as well as Circle of Protection, an ecumenical initiative to protect social safety net programs.

In addition to participating in the lobby day, Episcopalians have contacted and met with their lawmakers on their own to support safety net programs that include hunger-relief spending. lobbying efforts didn’t end on the 2017 lobby day.

Diocese of Maine Bishop Stephen Lane hosted a meeting in October between a Christian delegation and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Collins is in the center with Lane to the right. Photo: Diocese of Maine, via Bread for the World

Episcopalians have led other lobbying efforts. Diocese of Maine Bishop Stephen Lane hosted a Christian delegation that met in October with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to thank the Republican lawmaker for bucking her party’s proposals to roll back some or all of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Although that meeting wasn’t focused specifically on hunger issues, Lane said such personal contacts with lawmakers are effective in influencing a range of government policies in ways that reflect the Christian calling to serve the poor.

“As a follower of Jesus, I have a message of carrying and compassion that needs to be heard in the public square, and one of our roles as church is to raise those concerns with our leaders,” Lane said in a phone interview with ENS.

His diocese also has formed the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, with a mission that includes training Episcopalians on ways to lobby their state’s lawmakers.

“I believe that the health of a society is measured by the way we care for our weakest citizens, and we need to be constantly reminded of that as a society,” Lane said. “God cares for the least and the lost, and it’s a measure of maturity of our society that we pay attention those folks.”

Riley, who now works as executive director of the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey, previously served as director of advocacy for the Community FoodBank in New Jersey. In that role, she would travel to Washington, D.C., a few times a year to attend conferences, visit members of Congress and participate in events promoting anti-hunger efforts.

The Rev. Diane Riley meets with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez during the New Jersey senator’s 2013 visit to the Community FoodBank in Hillside, New Jersey. Riley was the food bank’s director of advocacy at the time. Photo: Maria Christina Hernandez, via Diane Riley

She also has worked on policy issues back in New Jersey, such as when she welcomed U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez at the FoodBank in 2013 at a time when he was advocating for maintaining food stamp spending. Riley also was involved with making improvements to how New Jersey administers SNAP benefits for its residents.

But Episcopalians don’t have to work a full-time job in the social service sector to make a difference. One way to fight hunger locally is to get involved in your school district, Riley suggested, by making sure school officials are aware of all federally supported school meal programs.

Again, the Office of Government Relations can help, with policy papers on some of the top issues facing Congress, including school meals and SNAP funding.

“You can see how that kind of advocacy can really work,” Riley said.

Feeding the hungry at home and abroad

Hunger is also a global problem, and the global reach of the Anglican Communion means individual provinces, like the Episcopal Church, can leverage that network to make a difference in alleviating hunger wherever it may be in the world, said the Rev. Michael Battle, professor of church and society at General Theological Seminary.

“We say we can address those things together as one identity, as Anglicans,” Battle said.

Some of that work takes the form of direct aid from agencies like Episcopal Relief & Development that take the donations made by Episcopalians in the pews and use them to feed people in disaster areas around the world. Anglican Alliance helps coordinate such efforts across the Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church also advocates for U.S. government policies and foreign aid that can alleviate global hunger, reflecting what Battle sees as a positive evolution in the church.

“The Episcopal Church may be leading the Anglican Communion, of moving from the church of the establishment to the church of advocacy,” Battle said.

Foreign aid, supplemented with donations by Episcopalians, can go a long way toward fighting hunger in poorer countries around the world – including in Episcopal dioceses. Haiti, for example, lacks the resources of its wealthier neighbors, but American congregations have been generous in supporting the Diocese of Haiti, especially after a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean country in 2010.

Foreign policy is a large part of the “For Such a Time as This” fasting campaign, which highlights the rising threat of famine in parts of the world.

“As we look overseas, we must acknowledge that foreign assistance and humanitarian relief can help to address regions confronting famine and food insecurity, including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Lake Chad Basin,” Curry said in his statement for the campaign’s kickoff. “We will challenge proposals to eliminate or defund proven anti-poverty programs, at home and abroad.”

Blachly said that Episcopalians, rather than tune out the needs of people on the other side of the world, are generally interested in reaching out a helping hand to those suffering from hunger overseas, both through financial giving and by supporting Episcopal Public Policy Network’s advocacy efforts on those issues.

Whether the hunger is domestic or foreign, though, there typically are underlying issues at the root of the problem. In a place like South Sudan, war is a greater cause of famine than drought. And in the United States, hunger often goes hand in hand with poverty.

An estimated 12.7 percent of Americans lived in poverty in 2016, and 41.2 million were said to be food insecure, meaning they lacked access to enough food to maintain an active and healthy life.

And last year, the number of children receiving free meals through the National School Lunch Program topped 20 million for the first time.

“If someone is hungry, there is a much deeper problem, so you can’t just try to address giving people food without addressing why people are hungry in the first place,” Battle said.

Time and again, when discussing such issues, those involved in the fight against hunger cite the old saying that if we teach people to fish they’ll fish for a lifetime. Riley, the New Jersey deacon, offered a caution to all who may reflexively nod heads in agreement, inviting them to think about the real-world context of that lesson.

“Can they afford the rods to fish? Do they have access to the lake to fish?”

Such questions that should compel us to “think deeply,” she said, about what we really need to do to make a difference in the lives of others.

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

Follow social media coverage of Presiding Bishop headlining San Joaquin revival

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 4:24pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry are holding a three-day Episcopal revival from Nov. 17 to 19, with an emphasis on sharing a bold, inclusive vision of faith in action.

The weekend features a variety of public events and preaching by Curry, whose office is teaming up with local leaders to organize Episcopal revivals across America and beyond. You can follow the events this weekend using the hashtag #EDSJrevival or by checking the social media feed below.

Anglican redevelopment project in Hong Kong wins UNESCO award

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An innovative community regeneration project by the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui – the Anglican Church in Hong Kong – has been given an Award of Excellence by UNESCO in its Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The Blue House Cluster Project, by the HKSKH’s St James’ Settlement NGO, is the first project in Hong Kong to win Unesco’s top award in this category.

The citation states that “this unprecedented civic effort to protect marginalized local heritage in one of the world’s most high-pressure real estate markets is an inspiration for other embattled urban districts in the region and beyond.”

Read the full article here.

Invitación a presentar aportes y comentarios sobre el borrador preliminar del presupuesto para el trienio 2019-2021 de la Iglesia Episcopal

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 7:05am

Los episcopales de toda la iglesia están invitados a presentar aportes y comentarios sobre el borrador preliminar del presupuesto para el trienio 2019-20121.

“Los presupuestos del trienio anterior y en curso se elaboraron para reflejar las Cinco Marcas de la Misión”, manifestó en su carta resumen Tess Judge, miembro y presidente del Comité Permanente Conjunto [del Consejo] de Finanzas para la Misión. “El presupuesto de 2019-2021 se basa en el Movimiento de Jesús cuyas prioridades son la Evangelización, la Reconciliación y Justicia Raciales y la Mayordomía del Medioambiente.

Añadió Judge “una de las ventajas del presupuesto del Movimiento de Jesús es que este refleja el modo en que el personal está organizado, por departamento, en lugar de disperso a través de las Cinco Marcas y otras áreas como en el pasado. De manera que las partidas de comunicación, informe, colaboración y creación del presupuesto resultan más claras. En la transición al Movimiento de Jesús, algunas secciones del presupuesto cambiaron de lugar, de manera que puede ser difícil hacer comparaciones directas entre gastos en áreas de presupuestos anteriores con los gastos que se proyectan en el próximo trienio. Y la comparación de porcentajes puede resultar inexacta”.

Después de las sugerencias y aportes, el borrador preliminar del presupuesto será elaborado para su aprobación por el Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal en su reunión de enero de 2018. De ahí en adelante, el Consejo Ejecutivo presentará el borrador de presupuesto al Comité Permanente Conjunto de Programa, Presupuesto y Finanzas (PB&F por su sigla en inglés) en febrero, el cual a su vez elaborará el presupuesto final para su aprobación durante la Convención General el próximo verano.

• El borrador preliminar del presupuesto está disponible aquí
• Puede someter sus aportes y comentarios aquí

• La fecha límite para presentar comentarios es el 10 de enero de 2018. 

Hitos
Una narrativa disponible aquí presenta información resumida sobre el borrador preliminar del presupuesto.

He aquí unos cuantos hitos:
• Las dos primeras páginas proveen un resumen del ingreso que se espera, 128’429.734 dólares y se proyecta que los gastos ascenderán a 132’921.145, lo cual resulta en un déficit de 4’491.411 dólares

Entre los hitos de la página de ingresos (1): 
• Partida 2 – Compromisos diocesanos (Tasaciones obligatorias a partir del 1 de enero de 2019). En los compromisos del actual trienio la solicitud [diocesana] se redujo de un 18% a un 15% con una exención de 150.000 dólares para cada diócesis. La cifra de la partida 2 [del presupuesto] 2016-2018 es el compromiso real que se esperaba (no un pleno compromiso asumido). El presupuesto 2019-2021 muestra una cifra bruta, la totalidad de la tasación prevista del 15% con una exención de 140.000 dólares proyectada para todas las diócesis. El recuadro rojo que sigue es una prestación para aquellas diócesis a las que el Consejo Ejecutivo podría concederles dispensas de pagar el monto total en el proceso de Revisión de Tasaciones.

• Partida 3 – Ingreso proveniente de activos irrestrictos y de fondos externos. Estos dos renglones representan una extracción de un 5% de las inversiones.

• Partida 3 – Campaña de Solicitud Anual – 500.000 dólares provenientes de la nueva solicitud anual de fondos del Departamento de Desarrollo para financiar ministerios en el presupuesto operativo. De este [dinero] 88.000 dólares cubrirán los costos de las campañas anuales.

• Partida 4b – Reconciliación Racial – Se reservaron 2 millones de dólares de las reservas a corto plazo en el trienio actual. Puesto que este era un programa completamente nuevo, tomó más de un año que se pusiera plenamente en marcha, de ahí que no se gastaran los 2 millones de dólares. El presupuesto 2019-2021 contempla más de 1 millón de dólares para esta labor.

Entre los hitos de la página de gastos (2):
• Las categorías de los gastos para el presupuesto 2019-2021 incluyen: Evangelización, Reconciliación y Justicia Raciales, Cuidado de la Creación, Ministerio del Obispo Primado para la Iglesia y el Mundo, Misión dentro de la Iglesia Episcopal, Misión fuera de la Iglesia Episcopal, Gobierno de la Misión y Áreas Financieras, Legales y Operacionales de la Misión. Estas [categorías] no se corresponden perfectamente con las categorías presupuestarias de las Cinco Marcas.

• Personal- todas las partidas de personal incluyen un aumento de un 3% cada año y un cálculo estimativo de un 9% en costos de seguro de salud. El Obispo Primado ha expresado su satisfacción con la actual plantilla del personal y pide que no haya nuevos contratos en el presupuesto 2019-2021.

• Cámara de Diputados, Partida 298 – Los costos de personal incluyen 900.000 dólares para salarios y beneficios para el/la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados para garantizar que los fondos estén disponibles si los aprueba la Convención General.

Convención General
La 79.ª Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal se llevará a cabo del jueves 5 de julio al viernes 13 de julio de 2018 en el Centro de Convenciones Austin  de la ciudad de Austin, Texas. (Diócesis de Texas)

La Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal se celebra cada tres años para deliberar los asuntos legislativos de la Iglesia. La Convención General es el organismo bicameral que gobierna la Iglesia, compuesta de la Cámara de Obispos, con más de 200 obispos activos y jubilados, y la Cámara de Diputados, con más de 800 diputados clérigos y laicos electos, provenientes de las 109 diócesis y tres zonas regionales de la Iglesia. Entre convenciones, la Convención General continúa funcionando a través de sus comités y comisiones. El Consejo Ejecutivo de la Iglesia Episcopal lleva a cabo los programas y políticas adoptadas por la Convención General.

Study measures economic impact of historically black colleges, including 2 with Episcopal ties

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 3:52pm

[Episcopal News Service] The two historically black colleges with longtime ties to the Episcopal Church have significant economic impacts on their communities and on the lives of their graduates, according to a study released this week that quantifies that impact for a hundred such institutions in the country.

Saint Augustine’s University generates $72 million in annual economic activity in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, while Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, generates $17 million in economic impact, according to the study from United Negro College Fund, or UNCF.

Those two Episcopal-affiliated institutions and other historically black colleges and universities, also referred to as HBCUs, combine to generate an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion, the equivalent of a top 200 ranking in the Fortune 500, according to the report, titled “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Everett Ward became the 11th president of Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in April 2015. Photo: Saint Augustine’s University

“Not only are each of our institutions strong as far as educational vehicles for American society, but also, to look at it from an economic impact … these are universities that have tremendous impact,” Everett Ward, president of Saint Augustine’s, said in a phone interview with Episcopal News Service.

The report defines economic impact as “direct spending by HBCUs on faculty, employees, academic programs and operations and by students attending the institutions, as well as the follow-on effects of that spending.”

UNCF also collected data on jobs produced by the colleges and the estimated lifetime earnings of the colleges’ graduates.

“The economic benefits of HBCUs extend to more than just the students themselves,” UNCF President Michael Lomax said in the study’s summary. “They’re

equally important to the communities, and the regions, that HBCUs have served for more than 100 years.”

Historically black colleges and universities were founded in the post-Civil War period to provide educational opportunities to black men and women who were excluded from white institutions of higher education because of segregation. The Episcopal Church at one point supported 11 HBCUs in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Saint Augustine’s was created in 1867 by the Episcopal Church and opened its doors the following January. The school that later would become Voorhees College was founded in 1897, and the Episcopal Church has supported it since 1924.

The Episcopal Church’s financial support of those two schools continues today. General Convention approved $2 million for the two schools in its 2016-2018 budget, including $400,000 in long-term development grants. Separately, the church’s Development Office is working to increases awareness of the schools within the church and to help with fundraising.

The UNCF report is based on 2014 data, which showed all HBCUs generated 134,000 jobs and more than 50,000 graduates that year who could expect to earn a combined total of $130 billion in their lifetimes.

For Saint Augustine’s, the study tallied 684 jobs, 301 on campus and 383 off campus, and the  university’s 226 graduates in 2014 were expected to earn $574 million in their lifetimes.

Voorhees was found to generate 287 jobs, including 196 on campus and 91 off campus. The lifetime earnings for its 117 graduates in 2014 were estimated at $297 million.

The study also concluded that those earnings estimates represented 77 percent more than what the graduates would have earned without college degrees, or about $1.1 million more per graduate.

Facts sheets on each of the 100 HBCUs are available on the UNCF website.

The scope of the study was limited to the direct economic impact of the colleges and universities, which paints a positive picture but doesn’t tell the full story, the website HBCU Digest said in an analysis. “So much vital data about HBCU value is absent,” the website says, citing the additional economic value of the institutions’ athletics, social events, volunteerism, capital projects and philanthropy.

Ward, the Saint Augustine’s president, acknowledged the study could have incorporated more data but said it was well done. “This study can grow in future years as they begin to widen their scope and look at other indicators,” he said.

One key metric from his perspective is the 65 percent of Saint Augustine’s students who come from North Carolina, many of whom are expected to remain in the state after graduation and contribute to the local economy.

Ward sees the UNCF study released this week as a valuable tool for showing the impact of his and other colleges.

“We plan to share it with the business community here,” he said. “We are sharing it with community stakeholders so that the larger community understands the impact that the university has.”

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

Webinar to discuss Churches’ global birth registration campaign

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 3:00pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The World Council of Churches will hold a webinar – or online seminar – next Nov. 20, World Children’s Day, to discuss the global campaign for birth registration. The participants will include the director for mission in the Anglican Communion, the Rev. Canon John Kafwanka, who will explain the consequences he faced as somebody whose birth, in Zambia, wasn’t registered. Every year, 51 million children worldwide are not registered. Without birth certificates, children become vulnerable to sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour, forced conscription, illegal detention and child marriage, officials say.

Read the entire article here.

Fijian churches unite to ‘Break the Silence’ on violence against women

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 2:54pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches across Fiji will observe “Break the Silence Sunday” this weekend, in what is described as “their most visible effort to halt the epidemic of violence against women in Pacific Island nations.” Research conducted by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre suggests that 64 percent of Fijian women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical or sexual abuse meted out by their husbands or partners. Church leaders say they want to break “the culture of silence and shame” on gender-based violence.

Read the entire article here.

Anglican archbishop calls for prayer, dialogue amid political upheaval in Zimbabwe

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 2:15pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Church leaders from Zimbabwe, central Africa and Europe have been commenting on the ongoing political situation in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe remains under house arrest.

In a pastoral letter Nov. 16, Archbishop of Central Africa Albert Chama echoed the call for prayer and dialogue that was issued a dat earlier by the Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe. “This sad situation needs more than a political solution. It also needs all people of faith to pray and all citizens to engage in dialogue for the sake of peace and stability in Zimbabwe,” said Chama, who is also the chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa.

Read the full article here.

Ahead of General Convention, Episcopalians consider Church Pension Fund’s service to a changing church

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:09am

[Episcopal News Service] As the Church Pension Fund rounds its 100th anniversary year and enters a second century, many Episcopalians are considering how its ministry might need to change to serve a changing church.

If the church’s “traditional” clergy employment model was a priest – always male until 1977 – employed full time with regular salary increases, who rarely interrupted his service and who rarely worked in the church after retirement, then only 58 percent of clergy now fit into that model, according to recent Pension Fund research. Sixty-one percent of those priests are male, 33 percent are female.

A growing number of clergy typically work part-time for multiple church employers over the course of their service. They often have some employment outside the church. Many clergy have their ministerial service interrupted for many different reasons. Their compensation does not necessarily increase over time.

Many clerics continue to work after their retirement. In fact, 58 percent of retired clergy younger than 72 still serve in some capacity and 95 percent of retired vocational deacons do the same, giving many congregations clergy services they otherwise could not afford.

The benefits landscape for Episcopal employees, lay and ordained, is also influenced by the continuing debate in the United States about the future of the Affordable Care Act and the disruption that the ensuing uncertainty has created in the insurance markets.

“The reality of the church is that there are fewer people and, more than that, less money,” the Rev. Winnie Varghese, the Diocese of New York deputy who chairs the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church, recently told Episcopal News Service. The result, Varghese said, is a growing and more permanent class of part-time clergy and lay church workers.

The committee is one group considering the question, in Varghese’s words, whether the church has the structures it needs for the church as it is today, rather than the one it was 25 or even 10 years ago.

Some changes already are set for next year when the Church Pension Fund plans to enact the biggest revisions to the fund’s benefits in the past 60-some years. Two important aspects of the clergy plan will not change in this round of revisions. The plan will remain a defined-benefit one and the mandatory assessment a cleric’s employer pays to will remain at 18 percent.

Mary Kate Wold, Pension Fund chief executive officer and president, said earlier this year that the revisions, expected to go into effect Jan. 1, are needed to “create more-modern plans that address the realities of a changing Episcopal Church, while ensuring that each pension plan remains financially sustainable.”

Canon I.8 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons (page 41 here) authorizes the Church Pension Fund to provide retirement, health and life insurance benefits to the church’s clergy and lay employees. (The Pension Fund is one of five companies that make up CPG).

Source: Church Pension Group Annual Report for 2016. Graphic: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Staff members have spent more than three years traveling the church to listen to more than 1,500 Episcopalians discuss how the Pension Fund ought to react to the changing church. As CPG was listening to the church and discussing possible revisions, General Convention in 2015, via Resolution A177, approved the effort. In Resolution A181, it also told CPG to study compensation and the cost of benefits for clergy and lay employees in the dioceses of Province IX, the Diocese of Haiti, the Episcopal Church in Cuba, and with its covenant partners.

Staffers are winding down a tour of the church’s dioceses, both explaining the changes and, at times, tweaking them based on responses during those sessions.

General Convention committee is studying the Pension Fund

Meanwhile, House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings has charged the State of the Church Committee to focus part of its triennial study on the Pension Fund, as well as on the church’s multicultural ministries and justice and advocacy ministries.

Jennings told ENS that she chose those three aspects of the life of the church based on the concerns she has heard raised in her conversations with deputies and other leaders, and as she travels around the church.

In July, the committee offered Episcopalians the chance to take two surveys, one about the Church Pension Fund and the other about social justice ministries. Nearly 1,200 people completed the Pension Fund survey.

The survey itself stirred some concern, according to Varghese. Some people contacted her worried that “somehow we were changing the pension plan or proposing changes to it.”

“I had to write back quickly and say it’s a survey just to understand our church and to hear from people who are really engaged in the life of the church but who don’t come to convention,” she said. “It’s simply a survey. This group had no authority, or delusion, of changing the pension plan and would never think to.”

Instead, Varghese said, the committee wanted to hear what people thought about the pension plan, “including some mandates we have in front of us that conflict with one another.”

For instance, she said, the General Convention is concerned about parity for certain benefits between clergy and lay employees. But many clergy face years of debt for the education required to work in a church that does not pay for seminary education, she added. Paying off that debt sometimes influences priests’ employment decisions and their sense of financial security. Add to that the aforementioned changing financial and demographic circumstances.

So, Varghese asked, hypothetically, does equity required raising all employees to the current benefit levels or does it mean reducing benefits for some in order to increase the level for others? And, who bears what pain of each of those choices?

Based on questions and concerns raised in the responses to the July survey, the committee sent a set of questions to the Church Pension Fund. Wold told ENS in written replies to questions emailed to her that she worked with staffers and the Pension Fund’s board of trustees to respond. What Wold called a “very collaborative process” included videoconferences with the subcommittee working on the issue and follow-up questions from the subcommittee that eventually resulted in the fund’s 19-page response.

When the Pension Fund sent its report to the State of the Church committee late last month, it also released it to the entire church. The responses are part of the data that the State of the Church committee is using to write its report. Normally such information requested by the committees charged with work in between General Convention is not released to the church ahead of the so-called Blue Book collection of official reports.

Jennings told ENS that it is “a bit confusing” that the Pension Fund chose to release its responses without any context ahead of the committee’s Blue Book report. However, the State of the Church committee is completing its report and it is due to do posted here early next year.

“We believe our clients and others would appreciate having the information contained in the report,” Wold wrote to ENS. She and her colleagues realized that many of the questions raised by the subcommittee might be asked elsewhere in the church, she added. The subcommittee’s work “helped us create a document that tells the story of the Church Pension Group well. It is a report we are proud to share with anyone who wants to take the time to read it.”

A question of relationship and authority

One of the more interesting parts of the Pension Fund’s response involves its answer to the committee’s question of how it sees its relationship to the church. While noting the authority outlined in Canon I.8, the report describes the relationship as “transactional” with the fund providing services to the church, which is described as a “client.” The fund says that it has “no legal or governance relationship” with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the name under which the Episcopal Church in incorporated).

The Pension Fund suggests that the church can influence that relationship by the fact that General Convention elects 24 of the fund’s 25 trustees and can amend Canon I.8 to increase its services to the church. The most recent amendments came in 2009 when the convention told the Pension Fund to establish a mandatory lay pension plan and the Denominational Health Plan.

The canonical relationship between the DFMS and the Church Pension Fund “is a subject about which reasonable people can disagree,” Jennings told ENS. The leaders of both organizations have had “thoughtful conversations about those issues and how General Convention might direct the Pension Fund to address contemporary realities and justice issues in the Episcopal Church, including the needs of part-time and non-stipendiary clergy and lay employees,” she added.

Varghese said that questions about “the authority of General Convention with regard to everything and anything in the work of the Pension Fund” come up in many conversations at every one of the triennial gatherings. Part of those conversations involve whether the Pension Fund ought to have the same questions and concerns, and whether responding to them could make the pension fund more, or less, effective and financially sustainable.

“The more that we can clarify that and be in the agreement, the better of the church,” Varghese said of the debates.

The committee, she noted, cannot make any changes on its own. That authority rests with the General Convention and CPG.

“As much as anyone I trust the great decisions about things I don’t understand to the people that are authorized to make them. I am happy that there are people who know a lot more than I do about a lot of things,” she added. “But some of these philosophical decisions, we collectively have to make and they are absolutely in resistance and often very different language and a different understanding of humanity and compassion than the culture around us and that’s really hard, and not just on the issue of pension.”

“I hope that this work is understood,” Varghese said. “We are not people external to the system but we need to be mature enough to face the decisions that we’re making and to hold ourselves responsible for them.”

More information about the State of the Church committee’s work is available here.

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

Southwest Florida’s first bishop to ordain women passes away

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:47am

[Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida] The Rt. Rev. Rogers Sanders Harris, whose call to Southwest Florida came at a critical time for the diocese, died Nov. 15, in South Carolina. His predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Emerson Paul Haynes, had served a 13-year episcopate and died while in office in 1988, which left the diocese without a bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Rogers Sanders Harris, 1930-2017

“He just came at a very difficult time,” said the Rt. Rev. Barry Howe, the current assisting bishop of the diocese and, during Harris’ time, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter. “He took a very difficult situation and made the best of it he could.”

Howe recalled that when Harris arrived, the issues of women’s ordination were left unresolved, and formal plans to elect a bishop coadjutor (a bishop with the right of succession) were never completed. The standing committee instead became the ecclesiastical authority and several retired bishops assisted during that period, but were never actual administrators. Important decisions were just deferred.

Harris was invested as diocesan Sept. 9, 1989, at the cathedral. Joan Kline served on the search committee for Harris and attended general conventions with him and his wife, Anne. She recalled having a good relationship with them. “I thought that he was the kind of bishop that went by the book,” reflected Kline, who said that the previous bishop, Emerson Paul Haynes, was in some ways more hands-off. “That didn’t always make him popular with the clergy,” Kline said.

It was during Harris’ tenure that the diocese first ordained female priests. When the diocese was in the selection period for bishop, Kline recalled that the issue of the ordination of women was central, as Southwest Florida was one of seven outlier dioceses in the Episcopal Church that were not ordaining women, and the previous bishop, Haynes, had not ordained women.

The decision to go forward with women’s ordination came fairly quickly, as it had been clear from the time of the election that Harris would be supportive of the idea. To resolve the issue and many other simmering problems, he arranged a meeting, recalled Howe. “He called together all the clergy who were not happy, and that was not hard.”

Harris ended up sending Sharon Lewis to seminary; other female priests in the diocese, such as the Rev. Tonya Vonnegut Beck, were licensed. The first woman he ordained was the Rev. Carol Schwenke, who was then a deacon at Holy Innocents in Valrico. Schwenke said she was at first a bit intimidated by him, thinking he was strict and standoffish, but that was just because she says she didn’t understand his personality. Later on, every time she saw the Harrises, she would get a hug from them both. “I remember that he went by the book,” said Schwenke, who said that she believed he thought of himself more an interim bishop, one who would “bring the diocese up with the rest of the church.”

“I always felt deeply encouraged by the friendship and understanding of the life of the Diocese of Southwest Florida and our relationship as colleagues in the House of Bishops,” said the current bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith. “I was pleased for his relationship with the diocese, and pray for his grand entrance into heaven.”

In his first convention address to the diocese Oct. 13, 1989, Harris reminded the gathering that Jesus Christ was head of the church. “We are here to do his will, to serve his mission. So I come to be the leader of this diocese, not the head of it.”

South Carolina native

A native of South Carolina, Harris was born Feb. 22, 1930, in Anderson, the son of Wilmot Louis and Sarah Elizabeth (Sanders) Harris. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at the University of the South in 1952, he married Anne Stewart March 28, 1953. He served in the Korean War from 1952 to 1954 as 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. “He came across as being no-nonsense,” said Howe. “He had been a marine in Korea.”

After his service, he received his Master of Divinity from the University of the South in 1957, was made deacon August 6, 1957 and priest April 5, 1958, under the Rt. Rev. Clarence Alfred Cole of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. In his parish work, he first served as vicar of both Grace Episcopal Church in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Batesburg. He served for 10 years as rector of the Church of Good Shepherd in Greer from 1959 to 1969 and was later rector of St. Christopher’s in Spartanburg from 1969 to 1985. He was consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina March 9, 1985, by the Most Rev. John Maury Allin and the Rt. Revs. William Arthur Beckham and Alex Dockery Dickson. There, he served as suffragan bishop from 1985 to 1989.

“Rogers was loved for his deeply pastoral ministry and strong leadership,” said the Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. “We will all miss his faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his thoughtful presence.”

In the wider church, he served as vice president of Province IV of The Episcopal Church from 1991 to 1994 and president from 1994 to 97. He was a member of the presiding bishop’s Council of Advice from 1994 to 1997. He served as a trustee of the University of the South in Sewanee and president of the Bishop Gray Inn in Davenport, Florida, from 1989 to 1997. He received his Doctor of Ministry from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1977, as well as an honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1986. His thesis was The Commitment of Confirmation.

“He was just a wonderful soul,” said Karen Patterson, who served as secretary of the nominating committee before the election of Harris. “He was a wonderful person to work with.” Patterson appreciated that he served as personal chaplain to the Episcopal Church women, who then had a non-voting representative on diocesan council. She said that during the time after Haynes left the diocese, many issues had not been addressed, as there was no bishop. He had a bit of a formal, businesslike approach to his office, what Patterson assumed was a remnant of his time in the military.

“Our diocese needed that at the time,” said Patterson. They also served together in Province IV. Patterson said that outside of the diocese, people called him Rogers, which was unheard of within the diocese, even with clergy. “He was much more relaxed at synod.”

Smith also observed that relaxed nature. “Rogers, being the third bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, he called me ‘five’ with a twinkle in his eyes,” said Smith.

“He played everything in the key of C major,” said the Rev. Canon Michael P. Durning, who first came to know Harris while he was curate at St. John’s in Naples, and served as chair of the finance committee. He recalled that Harris, who he described as “uncluttered and uncomplicated,” addressed the issue of diocesan apportionment. He came at the calculation from both a theological perspective, as well as his personal stories of his farming ancestors in rural South Carolina. “The larger congregations had a larger responsibility than the smaller congregations,” said Durning.

“I think of him often,” said Sandra Poling, assistant to Harris, who recalled his quiet nature and “innate honesty” in all he did. “He would give a job and expect it get done. He was not one to stand behind you and direct you.” She recalled him as a prayerful man, fully aware of everything going on around him. When problems came, he “dealt with it.”

“He provided a steady hand that was needed and appreciated,” said the Rev. Ed Henley, who believes that putting the diocese on a sound administrative footing was a critical accomplishment. “His personality was not such that you ended up with a lot of stories, but that was perfectly fine.”

The issues and discussions of worship styles were not of great importance in his role as bishop. “He didn’t make a whole lot of fuss about liturgy,” said Howe, who worked across the street from diocesan offices, which were then in St. Petersburg, across from the cathedral. “We just kind of became good friends.” He recalled that in his personal demeanor, he was reserved. “He was a very soft-spoken guy, and thought a lot before he spoke.”

His wife, Anne Harris, survives him. The family notified Smith by text that “Amazing Grace” was playing in the hospital room when he died.

Becas episcopales para la evangelización disponibles para esfuerzos locales y regionales

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 5:42am

El proceso de solicitud ya está abierto para el nuevo programa de Becas Episcopales para la Evangelización diseñado para financiar esfuerzos de evangelización local y regional en la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Este programa alentará a toda nuestra Iglesia a compartir recursos, catalizar la imaginación y, en última instancia, cultivar una red de evangelizadores que puedan aprender unos de otros y conectarse unos con otros”, explicó la Reverenda Canóniga Susan Brown Snook, Presidente tanto del Comité Episcopal de Becas para la Evangelización como del Comité del Consejo Ejecutivo de Misión y Ministerio Local.

El programa de Becas Episcopales para la Evangelización es coordinado por el Comité Local de Misión y Ministerio en colaboración con el Equipo de Iniciativas de Evangelismo de la Iglesia Episcopal.

“La evangelización no es una práctica atemorizante que sólo practican los ‘otros’ cristianos”, dijo la reverenda canóniga Stephanie Spellers, canóniga del Obispo Presidente para el Evangelismo, la Reconciliación y el Cuidado de la Creación y miembro del comité de becas. “El evangelismo es el corazón de la vida cristiana, y esperamos que este programa prenda la llama y conecte a los episcopales que están creando formas únicas, auténticamente episcopales de buscar, nombrar y celebrar la presencia amorosa de Jesús en todas partes”.

El Comité buscará propuestas enfocadas en varios objetivos
• Crear y difundir recursos que equipen a los episcopales y las iglesias para convertirse en evangelistas y narradores de historias en la vida diaria.
• Crear oportunidades para las personas que no forman parte de una comunidad de fe para que construyan sus propias relaciones amorosas, liberadoras y dadoras de vida con Dios en Cristo.
• Apuntar a un impacto duradero y amplio.
• Emplear innovación y creatividad.
• Promover el aprendizaje, la comprensión y la aplicación práctica en toda la iglesia.

Las instituciones episcopales (parroquias, diócesis, provincias, escuelas, seminarios, comunidades monásticas, organizaciones episcopales y otras entidades episcopales afiliadas) son elegibles para recibir estos fondos. Las asociaciones colaborativas regionales con entidades no episcopales son bienvenidas y alentadas, pero una entidad episcopal debe servir como líder del proyecto, ser gerente activo y agente informante. Aquellos asociados con un seminario o programa de formación son alentados a explorar la posibilidad de conseguir fondos a través de la Sociedad de Evangelismo Episcopal en www.ees1862.org.

Hay becas disponibles de hasta 2.000 dólares para una congregación individual y de hasta 8.000 dólares para las colaboraciones entre varias iglesias, diócesis y regionales. También se espera que los grupos que reciben financiamiento realicen una contribución financiera significativa para el proyecto.

El Comité de Becas revisará las propuestas y hará recomendaciones al Consejo Ejecutivo en la reunión de enero de 2018. La distribución se realizará dentro de las cuatro semanas posteriores a la notificación y la finalización de los formularios necesarios.

La aplicación, los criterios y la información adicional están disponibles aquí.

La fecha límite para presentar solicitudes es el 15 de diciembre a las 8:00 de la noche hora del este [de Estados Unidos].

Para obtener más información, póngase en contacto con Kayla Massey en kmassey@episcopalchurch.org o 212.716.6022.

Anglican commission begins work to develop global safeguarding procedures

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 2:11pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An international commission established to make the Churches of the Anglican Communion safe places for children, young people and vulnerable adults has begun its work. The Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Commission was established by the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting last year in Lusaka, in one of four resolutions on safeguarding.

Read the entire article here.

Call for protected freedom of speech after Australians vote ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 2:09pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Australia’s Parliament has begun the process of legalizing same-sex marriage after a resounding “yes” to the proposal in a plebiscite. Just under 80 percent of eligible voters participated in the voluntary postal vote, with 61.6 percent voting in favor. Within hours of the result being declared, legislators began the process of considering a private members bill tabled by Sen. Dean Smith. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wants the bill to become law by Christmas.

Read the entire article here.

Between a crisis and a ‘kairos’: Zimbabwean church leaders call for national dialogue

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 2:03pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] An ecumenical group of Christian leaders in Zimbabwe have said that the country is “between a crisis and a kairos” (opportunity) and have called for a national dialogue. The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations, chaired by the Anglican bishop of Central Zimbabwe, Ishmael Mukuwanda, brings together the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe. In a statement released to ACNS Nov. 15, the group says that many Zimbabweans are “confused and anxious about what has transpired and continues to unfold in our nation.”

Read the entire article here.

Religious, community and school leaders train to tackle Burundi’s biggest killer

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 11:55am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Four-hundred people representing the faith, community and education sectors in Burundi have been trained to combat malaria, the main cause of death in the country. So far in 2017, more than six million cases of malaria have been registered; and more than 2,600 people have died. The training took place in Bururi and Mwaro districts – two of the four worst-hit areas of the country.

Read the entire article here.

Editors’ note: Episcopal Relief & Development partners with the Anglican Church of Burundi on other health-integrated programs, dealing with issues such as HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

Nashotah House announces passing of the Rev. Rick Hartley

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 8:57am

[Nashotah House Theological Seminary — Nashotah, Wisconsin] It is with great sadness that Nashotah House Theological Seminary announces the unexpected passing of the Rev. Richard (Rick) S. Hartley, associate dean for student services, affiliate professor of ascetical and pastoral theology and a Nashotah House alumnus.

The Rev. Richard (Rick) S. Hartley

Hartley began his ministry in his early twenties after serving five years with an itinerant drama ministry. He devoted time to continuing his education during his entire 20 years of ministry. He received his Master of Sacred Theology, Ascetical Theology, from Nashotah House in 2015 and his Doctorate of Ministry with an emphasis in leadership and spiritual formation in 2009. In addition, he had studied and earned degrees at several other schools, including St Paul Theological College, Sanctus Theological Institute and Andersonville (Baptist) Theological Seminary. Originally ordained a Baptist, he was approbated into the Congregational Way in 2006, but finally came home to Anglicanism in 2013. Hartley was a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

He had published articles in the International Congregational Journal and served on the Theological Commission of the International Congregational Fellowship, giving lectures in the United States, Bulgaria and England. He also developed a lay school for ministry during his time with the Congregationalists. Hartley leaves behind his wife, Karla, and three children.

Services will be held on Nov. 18, at the First Congregational Church in Mukwonago, with visitation from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., followed by the funeral service at 1 p.m.

Founded in 1842, Nashotah House is a seminary serving the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion and other ecumenical partners.

Jamaica and Cayman Islands launch season of intentional discipleship

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 2:49pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, in the province of the West Indies, have launched a season of intentional discipleship, following the call of last year’s Anglican Consultative Council. About 1,500 clergy and laity gathered at the Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville, Jamaica, Nov. 12, to hear Bishop Howard Gregory explain the importance of discipleship.

Get the entire article here.

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