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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s just breathtaking,” Cannon said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Kansas elects local priest to be next bishop

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

The Rev. Mark Cowell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP: Congregational studies pioneer Loren Mead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rev. Michael Buerkel Hunn

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

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

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

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

Hunn received 55 clergy votes and 141 lay votes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Churches throughout Asia focus on people with disabilities for Asia Sunday

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

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

Read the entire article here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Anglicans unite to step up the fight against human trafficking

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

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

Read the entire article here.

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— TheDailyTimes (@TheDailyTimes) April 30, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

The Rev. Canon Kevin Nichols elected bishop of Bethlehem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article here.

Police officer-turned antiques dealer discovers heart for prison ministry

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 3:00pm

Antiques dealer Jon Felz, center, appraises an icon for Joanne and Sal Torrisi during an April 21 fundraiser for Diocese of Newark Prison Ministry programs, held at St. James Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey. Photo: Sharon Sheridan

[Episcopal News Service] For 20 years, Jon Felz helped send people to prison as a New York police officer. Today, he’s volunteering his time to help those behind bars as a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark’s Prison Ministry.

“I have over 1,200 felony arrests,” he said. “But when you lock somebody up, you spend three hours with them processing them, and then you rarely see them again unless the case goes to trial. Ninety percent of the cases don’t go to trial. You don’t get to focus on them as human beings.”

But Felz’s faith journey has lent him new perspective and purpose. Now an antiques dealer and certified appraiser, Felz led an “Antiques Roadshow”-style event on April 21 at the Episcopal Church of St. James in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, to raise money for the diocese’s programs for inmates and their families. Looking ahead, he hopes to join ministry members in leading Bible studies for inmates.

“When God opens your heart, you really take this stuff to heart,” he said.

Jon Felz in his New York Police Department days.

Felz, 60, began his New York police career during the “drug wars” of the 1980s. At age 22, he was assigned to Washington Heights, which set a precinct record with 137 homicides in 1984. During his career, he survived three gun battles and engaged in New York-to-New Jersey car chases to arrest suspected drug dealers.

“As I got older, I started to study the Bible – first from a historical point of view, because I love history,” said Felz, the son of an antiques dealer. His retirement from police work to enter the antiques business in 2001 gave him more time to reflect. “The years went by, my faith started to get stronger.”

A lifelong member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Montvale, New Jersey, Felz began bringing donated pastries each Sunday to the men’s shelter located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Paterson. Then he began bringing men’s clothing and toiletries from estate sales he ran and donations from members of his church. He started to get to know the shelter’s men, some of them just out of prison.

“I saw that even [with] the toughest ex-con … there is a bond,” Felz said. “When I go there Sunday, they know my name.”

He began thinking about the circumstances that led people to commit crimes. “I’m not making excuses for them,” he said, but “I look at them as victims.”

Reflecting on the people he’d helped lock up, he said, “I felt that I didn’t help anyone. These are human beings. They’re not just numbers.”

And when he heard about the diocesan prison ministry, he thought: “Maybe I could go in and give hope.”

John Felz says people in prison “are not just numbers.” Photo: Sharon Sheridan

He wants to join diocese members who lead Bible studies in the state prison in Newark and jails in Hudson and Essex counties. First, however, he will need to complete the institutions’ required paperwork and background checks.

For more than three decades, the diocese also has supported children and their incarcerated parents through the PATCH (Parents and Their Children) program. PATCH transports children for monthly visits with their parents at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark and provides camp scholarships, school supplies and annual Christmas parties for the children. PATCH previously included a mentoring component for children, which the diocesan prison ministry would like to restart.

Other programs include a pen-pal program and a holiday choir that leads a carol service at a county jail.

The ministry makes PATCH a priority because “our children are an at-risk population for prison, mental health issues, dropping out of school,” said the Rev. Pamela Bakal, prison ministry president and rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Nutley. The program costs more than $22,000 annually because of transportation, insurance and other costs – a funding need that prompted Felz to donate his antique-appraisal skills for the April 21 event.

Jon Felz, far left, poses with other police officers in New York in 1998. Felz served 20 years as a police officer but says he now is called to try to help inmates as a volunteer with the Diocese of Newark Prison Ministry. Photo courtesy of Jon Felz

His police days showed him the impoverished circumstances that led some into lives of crime.

“When these young guys are in the street … if you’re getting high every day or drunk … you’re not thinking straight, and you’re going to do stupid things,” he said. “The sad thing is, a lot of these guys do such stupid things, their life is over. If someone could tell them that their life isn’t over, that there is a God … that loves them, that cares about them.”

“It has nothing to do with liberal or conservative,” he adds. “Some poor kids have nothing. … It’s not a political issue. It’s a human being issue. Now it becomes our job to show them the love that they never had.”

— Sharon Sheridan is a postulant in the Diocese of Newark and a member of the Diocese of Newark Prison Ministry.

More landmark churches charging admission fees during week while keeping worship free

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 1:48pm

Visitors tour Boston’s Old North Church, which soon will begin charging tourists up to $8 a person for admission. Photo: Old North Church

[Episcopal News Service] Planning for a half million people a year to step foot in your church may seem like a rector’s foolish pipe dream. In reality, though, Old North Church is one of Boston’s most popular tourist destinations, and it doesn’t maintain itself.

“That’s a lot of wear and tear on the building,” the Rev. Stephen Ayers said. His church, while remaining free for all who come to worship and pray, soon will begin charging admission to most of its hundreds of thousands of annual visitors. “We’ve managed as long as we can by cutting corners, but that’s not enough to keep the place going.”

Boston is a city steeped in Revolutionary War history, and Old North Church is one of its most treasured historical landmarks. Its stature stems from its pivotal role in Paul Revere’s famous ride on April 18, 1775, as the site of a poetic advance in lantern-based messaging – “One if by land, and two if by sea.”

Old North Church, 243 years later, is still home to a small but active Episcopal congregation. Its list of Christian ministries ranges from Bible studies to a feeding program, but historic preservation isn’t a central theme. “We want the congregation to have its own identity,” Ayers said, though there’s no denying that Old North Church’s connection to the past puts it in rare company. “It’s a pretty small group of churches that find themselves as being historical attractions as well.”

A guide leads tourists on a tour of Old North Church, which is both a popular historic site and an active Episcopal congregation. Photo: Old North Church

Landmark Episcopal churches make up an even smaller group, and some already have set up ticket counters for the paying public. Trinity Church in Boston, popular for its architecture, art and central location on Copley Square, has charged admission for more than a decade, except on Sunday mornings and other worship times.

“A lot goes into greeting the public and welcoming them,” said the Rev. Patrick C. Ward, associate rector at Trinity Boston. The costs of maintaining the building add up, and “the only people taking care of it are the people in the parish.”

In New York, Trinity Church Wall Street, a wealthy congregation founded in 1697, keeps its historic church, cemetery and nearby St. Paul’s Chapel open to the public for free, while Cathedral of St. John the Divine created a $10 admission fee in September. It had promoted a suggested donation for decades and also charges for guided tours of the 125-year-old building, one of the world’s largest cathedrals.

“We do not, nor will ever require a fee from anyone coming here for private prayer, attending a worship service or seeking respite or sanctuary,” Isadora Wilkenfeld, St. John the Divine’s programing and communications manager, said in an email. “However, we’ve always relied on the contributions of visitors, supporters and the wider community as a major source of revenue.”

St. John the Divine, through a long period of research and discussion, found that an admission fee was in line with the policies at other cathedrals in the United States and Europe, including Washington National Cathedral, which began charging tourists and sightseers $12 each in 2014.

If you cringe at the notion of making anyone pay to enter a house of worship, consider what it takes for that small group of landmark churches to invite the public inside on days of the week when many other churches around the country are closed to the public.

“We wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open on a daily basis if it weren’t for people paying a nominal fee,” said Patricia Hurley, Trinity Boston’s director of communications. The church’s $7 fee helps cover the estimated $35,000 a week it costs to keep the lights on and staff the building during the week, including security.

The congregation is much larger than Old North Church – about 750 people attend the five Sunday services at Trinity – and though lacking Old North’s historical pedigree, it still draws up to 100,000 visitors a year. Trinity is known as one of the most significant buildings in the country because it represents the birth of a now commonplace architectural style, Richardsonian Romanesque, pioneered by H.H. Richardson.

“It’s not merely about surface prettiness. Beauty draws us out of ourselves,” Ward said, noting the connection between art and spirituality. “People coming into it from all faiths, or no faith, will say things to me like, ‘I feel embraced by this building.’”

And if faith has called someone to a church, whether the building is historic or not, church leaders are committed to removing financial barriers to entry.

“Sundays and worship services are always free, as is private prayer,” said Kevin Eckstrom, communications officer at Washington National Cathedral. “If someone comes to the front desk and says they want to light a candle or say a prayer, they can come in.”

National Cathedral draws about 275,000 visitors a year, typically attracted by its historical connection to the nation’s capital, its Gothic architecture and its spiritual significance as “a place where people can encounter the sacred in a very secular city,” Eckstrom said.

It costs an estimated $40,000 a day to keep the building open and running. After an initial adjustment period, Eckstrom said, visitors have grown accustomed to paying the admission fee, which includes a half-hour, docent-led tour of the facility.

“Part of our mission is to open the space to whoever wants to come in and hopefully have a transcendent experience that you would not get in any other place in the nation’s capital,” he said.

And whether it’s a quarter million people visiting National Cathedral or a half million people visiting Old North Church, those kinds of numbers are “great problem to have,” he said.

Old North Church is one of the most popular tourist stops in Boston because of the two lanterns hung in its town signaling that British were advancing by sea on April 18, 1775. Photo: Old North Church

Old North Church plans to launch its new fee policy as soon as its ticket booths arrive, possibly this month.

“We’ve done a good bit of local PR about it. Most of the response has been good,” said Ayers, whose congregation typically numbers 80 to 90 people at Old North’s two Sunday services.

The church previously suggested donations of $3, though that revenue typically only averaged $1 per visitor, Ayres said. Adult visitors now will pay $8, with discounts for military members, seniors and students. Kids under 5 will still get in free, as will anyone who lives in Boston.

The historic site is set up as a separate nonprofit organization, with support from the Episcopal congregation, and during the height of the summer tourist season, Old North Church has about 50 people on its staff catering to visitors. Many of them are graduate students studying history who spend the season as educators or first-person interpreters dressed in Colonial costumes.

Old North Church prides itself on offering a comprehensive experience detailing Colonial life, Revolutionary War history and even 18th century chocolate making. “It’s not just come and recite ‘one if by land and two if by sea’ and leave,” Ayers said. “Freedom was not just kicking the British out of North America.”

If there has been any objection to the new fee, it’s come from the tourism companies that now will have to pay to stop at Old North Church on their bus tours and cruises. Ayers doesn’t expect them to change course. Old North conducted a study that concluded an admission fee would not dramatically decrease the number of annual visits.

If you only have time for a few stops while visiting Boston, “you’re going to pick the ones on your bucket list,” he said. “The Old North is on everybody’s bucket list.”

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

Informal group of Anglican – Roman Catholic theologians discusses ‘new layers of unity’

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 10:38am

[Anglican Communion News Service] An informal but officially-sanctioned ecumenical dialogue between Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians has met to consider “the difficult question of Anglican orders.” The Malines Conversation Group was originally established in the early 1920s by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Malines-Brussels; some 24 years after Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican orders (the ordination of men and women in the Anglican Communion) were “absolutely null and utterly void.” The 1920s Malines Conversations Group envisioned the restoration of communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in the phrase l’Église Anglicane unie non absorbée – united, but not absorbed.

The group’s communique, along with commentary by Church of England Diocese of Europ Bishop David Hamid, is here.

Read the entire article here.

Three-fold increase in young people on Church of England ministry-discernment placements

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 10:31am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A record number of people are taking part in a Church of England scheme which provides a practical year in a parish to young people considering a call to ministry. The Ministry Experience Scheme is a nationwide initiative which developed from ad-hoc programs run by individual parishes and dioceses. It offers young people, aged between 18 and 30, the opportunity to spend a year working in a parish alongside a vicar in what some have dubbed “apprentice vicar” posts.

Read the entire article here.

R.I.P.: Bishop Emilio Hernández of Cuba

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 3:15pm

[Diocese of Southeast Florida] A faithful servant and devoted bishop has passed from us. Bishop Emilio Hernández of Cuba died on April 19. He served the church bravely and sacrificially during a turbulent and costly era of his country’s history. His commitment to the Gospel was indeed unwavering.

We are pleased to offer this tribute, which includes a brief biography written by the Rev. Alejandro Hernández, one of Bishop Emilio’s children and rector of Todos Los Santos, Miami.

May Bishop Emilio rest in peace and rise in glory.

Bishop Emilio Joaquín Hernández Albalate was born in the city of Morón, province of Camagüey Cuba, on Dec. 7, 1925. He was a restless lover of justice from a very young age. His mother shared that she once discovered a steak hidden in his pocket. He had planned to offer it to his Afro-Cuban friend Chorizo, who was poor.

As a teenager, he was once walking with a friend when they met a beggar on the road. His friend began to push and mock the beggar. Emilio struck his friend to stop him. When his friend asked why he had hit him, he replied, “do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.”

All that said, Bishop Emilio was not perfect, just as no one is. He never believed himself to be perfect because he knew that he would be deceiving himself and not living in the truth.

Thanks to his mentor, teacher, and pastor, the Rev. Moreno, he discovered very early in life that he was radically loved by God. Convinced of God’s unconditional love for humanity and the need to proclaim this good news, young Emilio began to feel God’s call to ordained ministry. At the time however, his parents wanted him to become a physician. Desiring to please his parents, he entered the University of Havana to study medicine. The call continued tugging at his heart until, in his third year of medical school, he left and was soon admitted to the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas.

At the time he left medical school, he was already dating Edivia Hilaria Mesa Miranda. She was a beautiful young woman. He met her at Trinity Church in Morón. Edivia had captivated him not only by her beauty, but for her fighting spirit. The couple got married, and Edivia left everything to follow her husband to the seminary and to begin a new life in the service of God.

Emilio and his wife had three children, Mayra Sara, Leonel Emilio and Alejandro Félix Hernández. After finishing his theological studies, Emilio was sent by Bishop Alexander Hugo Blankingship to pastor a small church in Florencia, Camagüey. He would travel through the fields on horseback to visit the farmers. He baptized hundreds in that community alone.

In Florencia, the Rev. Emilio, strengthened his connection with the July 26 Movement, which he had joined while in seminary with the ideal of ending the prevailing government corruption and restoring constitutionality to the nation of Cuba.

With the triumph of the rebels, the Rev. Emilio would begin a new phase of his life. After rejecting an offer by the mayor of the city of Morón, in order to continue proclaiming the Gospel, he was sent, by Bishop José Agustín González, to the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Palma Soriano to pastor the churches and colleges of both cities.

Shortly after the family had settled in the city of Santiago de Cuba, the Rev. Emilio, outraged by the Castro brothers’ betrayal of the principles of the July 26 Movement and the surrender of the country to international communism, joined the Revolutionary Movement of the People. He was betrayed by one of the members of his group and was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He might have been pardoned if he had just excepted the rehabilitation plan that required him to renounce his principles, but Rev. Emilio served the entire sentence as a form of protest.

While in prison the Rev. Emilio continued to preach the Gospel. There he gathered an ecumenical fellowship that included Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Christians. His wife carefully passed him a Book of Common Prayer by using the BCP’s pages to wrap the food that she would deliver to him in prison on her visits.

After serving his sentence, although he would have been allowed to leave the country for the United States, he preferred to remain in Cuba and continue his pastoral ministry in the Episcopal Church.

He was soon sent to the city of Cárdenas to tend to the parishes in that city and the cities of Coliseo, Limonar and Itabo. He was later appointed by Bishop José Agustín González as archdeacon of the province of Matanzas and professor of the Evangelical Seminary of Theology.

With the announcement of the retirement of the Diocesan Bishop, the Venerable Emilio, along with the Venerable Juan Ramón de Paz and Prospero Mesa, became nominees at the synod that would elect the new bishop of the Diocese of Cuba. Venerable Emilio was elected bishop coadjutor of Cuba in 1980 and was consecrated as diocesan bishop in 1982.

The bishopric of the illustrious Emilio, which lasted a little more than a decade, was characterized by its simplicity and solidarity, and by its sensitivity to the problems and anxieties of clergy and lay people alike. His legacy also included the fruit of his substantial ecclesial work in the total renewal of the life of the Diocese.

Among his achievements:

  • The Cuban Mass sung poetically and with deeply native criolla tonalities.
  • The ordination of the first women to the diaconate and presbyterate in 1986.
  • The creation of a solid relationship named Fellowship in Mission with the Diocese of Jacksonville, Florida, which ended the isolation of the Cuban Episcopal Church.
  • The creation of the New Ministries movement and the ordination of worker-ministers who would no longer be obligated give up their secular work, in order to train as clergy for the church.
  • The revitalization of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas and the long-needed commitment to supplying new professors and students.

After his retirement, Bishop Emilio and his wife resided in Havana for a time. They would later move to the United States to be with their children, who resided in Miami, Dade County and Broward County. Bishop Emilio had been widowed a few years at the time of his death. He lived with his daughter Mayra in Coral Springs.

The Acts of the Apostles, referring to King David, says: “dFor David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died.” To paraphrase this quote, we could say: “Bishop Emilio, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died.”

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Korea agreement described as ‘beginning of a new history of reconciliation and peace’

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 12:27pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A national ecumenical body which includes the Anglican Church of Korea has welcomed the April 27 historic agreement between the leaders of North and South Korea. The Panmunjom Agreement was signed at the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit by the Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Amongst a range of peace-building initiatives, the Panmunjom Agreement includes a commitment to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Read the entire article here.

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