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‘Living stones’ of Al Ahli Arab Hospital build a ministry of healing, witness in Gaza

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 12:21pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry hands a toddler back to her mother while visiting a session for mothers and their young children at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. Jerusalem Archbishop Suheil Dawani is at right. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Gaza City] Healing comes in many forms, and Al Ahli Arab Hospital’s medical ministry combines every day with Christian witness to provide the people of the Gaza Strip an example of the love of Christ in action.

That example is set in an area whose Christian population is dwindling. Suhaila Tarazi, the hospital’s director general, estimates there are no more than 900 Christians among Gaza’s 2 million residents. Ten years ago, the number of Christians stood at 3,000 and the total population was some 1.5 million.

Tarazi told Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and his delegation March 26 that the remaining Christians are “the living stones” of Gaza, and so too are institutions like Al Ahli Arab Hospital, which is one of more than 30 social service ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

“We try through our mission of healing and love to preserve Christianity,” Tarazi said. “We put our Christianity in action. It’s not talking; it’s not preaching. It’s action.”

Just 12 of the Anglican hospital’s 120 employees are Christian, Tarazi said, but all employees work together and learn how to accept one another and love their neighbors. That work is all to further the hospital’s ministry of healing and reconciliation. The hospital ministers to all, irrespective of race, religion or ability to pay.

“The number of Christians in Gaza are decreasing dramatically, but the witness to the way of Jesus is as strong as ever because at Al Ahli Arab Hospital healing happens – Muslim, Christian, anyone who needs it, healing happens,” Curry told Episcopal News Service after his return to Jerusalem. “And that is the way of Jesus. That is what love looks like. That is what the sacrifice on the cross was about.”

A toddler’s mother shows off her child to visitors at Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Curry and staff members who accompanied him met some of the patients and employees and heard about the services that benefit some 38,000 Gaza Strip residents each year. The hospital offers general surgery, general medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and emergency care. People are treated without regard to their financial situation, according to Tarazi.

She said the hospital struggles to survive and do the work of Jesus “in the most difficult and gloomy situation.” A drive from the Israeli border to the hospital shows a city where cars swerve around donkey-drawn carts, and some buildings still show the evidence of mortar strikes from previous fighting.

A statue depicting a large bronze-colored fist rises out of the ground in one small clearing. Placards that appeared to praise men whom residents call freedom fighters and Israelis call terrorists are common sights on street corners. Other placards or murals, including one at the Gaza border crossing, seem to warn residents against becoming traitors by cooperating with Israel.

Rubble piles are common, and some children forage in garbage-strewn lots. Forty-four percent of adults are unemployed, and 33 percent of children suffer from undernourishment or malnutrition, Tarazi said. The hospital sees nearly 700 such children ages 6 months to 3 years via a program designed to monitor their health and teach their mothers about nutrition and other health issues.

Drinking water is polluted, as is the air, according to Dr. Maher Ayyad, medical director. Both communicable diseases and non-communicable ones, such as cancer and hypertension, are on the rise. Ayyad said that, as a Palestinian, he does not like to talk about politics but “my belief is that without America there will never be a solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bringing peace to that area will further peace efforts in the entire Middle East, he said.

“We pray all the time here because, as Christians, we believe in peace. We pray that God will give wisdom to our leaders to have peace in this area.”

Al Ahli Arab Hospital has been ministering as a Christian witness in Gaza City since 1882. The institution was founded by the Church of England’s Church Mission Society and was later run as a medical mission by the Southern Baptist Conference from 1954 to 1982. It then returned to the Anglican Church. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The hospital’s situation is made more difficult by the restrictions Israel places on Gaza residents, including the movement of medicines and medical supplies, food, fuel and people in and out of the area. Electricity service only works sporadically, and often the hospital must run its 400 kilowatt generator for 16 hours a day. It takes $90 of fuel to power the generator each hour, Tarazi said.

Suhaila Tarazi, Al Ahli Arab Hospital’s director general, and Dr. Maher Ayyad, medical director, explain the ministry of the hospital, and the challenges it faces. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Episcopal Relief & Development helps the hospital with its fuel and food needs.

The hospital is currently struggling in part because of a Trump administration decision in January to withhold $65 million of a $125 million contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

The cut means UNRWA will only pay a fourth of what the hospital expected in reimbursement for the care it gives, according to Tarazi.

If money and supplies are always an issue, vision and ambition is not. For instance, the hospital has a program for early detection of breast cancer among women older than 40. The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Islamic Relief have helped the hospital obtain a state-of-the-art mammography machine and the equipment needed to read the resulting x-rays. Support also has come from the Australian Anglican Overseas Aid organization.

Education is an important part of the program. That was evident as Curry and his group toured the hospital campus. In a room in the breast-cancer department, hospital employees were teaching a woman in a burka how to do breast self-examination. They were using a rubber device with simulated breasts that fit on the woman’s chest outside of her clothing. There are 800 new breast cancer cases in Gaza each year, Tarazi said.

The breast health education effort is important to increase early diagnosis, according to Tarazi and Ayyad. Otherwise treatment becomes a life-threatening emergency in which time is of the essence. Time moves very slowly in Gaza in those cases. Too often, the combination of aid from the Palestinian Authority and Israeli permission to leave Gaza for treatment cannot be coordinated with available appointments at facilities outside of the area. The Gaza hospital does not have radiation oncology equipment of its own.

Curry’s group, accompanied by Jerusalem Archbishop Suheil Dawani, met a woman who had already had a single mastectomy and now had been told that there was cancer in her other breast. Hospital officials were trying to get her out of Gaza for treatment.

The World Health Organization estimates that only 40 percent of Gazans who need to leave for cancer treatment get permission to do so.

Despite all the difficulties faced by the people of Gaza, Dawani insisted that “we will endure” in order to help that woman and others like her.

Signs in the courtyard of Al Ahli Arab Hospital point patients to various departments. Dr. Maher Ayyad, the hospital’s medical director, says the serene greenery of the courtyard is itself part of the hospital’s ministry. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Al Ahli Arab Hospital is constantly trying to build partnerships around the world to aid its mission. It is in the early stages of an agreement with Texas-based M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital. The potentially $30 million partnership would bring equipment to the hospital and enable the medical staff to consult electronically with M.D. Anderson doctors on cases. Gaza staff could go through the Texas system for training, as well.

The hospital also has a grant from USAID to build a center for minimally invasive surgery. All staff surgeons will be trained in the technique, and the $900,000 grant will also help purchase the surgical equipment.

Curry was in the third day of a Holy Week pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Previous ENS coverage of his travels can be found here.

The presiding bishop is accompanied by the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Margaret Rose, Episcopal Church deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations; the Rev. Robert Edmunds, Episcopal Church Middle East partnership officer; and Sharon Jones, Curry’s executive coordinator.

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



Groupe de travail «relations» de l’archevêque de Canterbury plans Saison de la repentance et de la prière

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 12:01pm

Des plans provisoires pour une saison du repentir et de la prière dans l’ensemble de la Communion anglicane l’année prochaine ont été proposés par le Groupe de travail qui a été créé après le Rassemblement des Primats en 2016. Ce temps de repentir et de prière commencerait par la publication d’une prière spécifique et s’étendrait de la Pentecôte à la fin de 2019.

Le Groupe, qui s’est réuni à Londres cette semaine, a annoncé que la saison se concentrera chaque semaine sur une province particulière. Les ressources d’accompagnement seront rassemblées et distribuées par le bureau de la Communion anglicane.

Monseigneur Ian Ernest, Évêque de l’Océan indien, qui a présidé la réunion de cette semaine, a expliqué que la saison serait le don de la Communion à un monde en souffrance.

« Nous sommes conscients des difficultés et des souffrances. Le monde connaît la déchirure. La Communion anglicane a également eu ses difficultés et ses déchirures. »

« Alors, notre réponse, c’est notre croyance que la prière nous aidera à grandir et à aimer malgré les différences. Notre croyance, c’est que nos différences ne mènent pas nécessairement à la haine, mais que la prière peut nous amener à la guérison là où les relations se sont détériorées. »

« Nous savons que nous sommes tous appelés à être des instruments d’amour et de pardon, de droiture et de vérité. »

Établi en 2016 par l’Archevêque de Cantorbéry à la demande des Primats, le Groupe de travail a pour mission de restaurer les relations, de renforcer la confiance et la responsabilité mutuelles, de guérir les conséquences de la souffrance, et d’explorer des relations plus approfondies. Il a présenté un rapport provisoire sur son travail lors du Rassemblement des Primats qui s’est tenu à Cantorbéry en octobre dernier.

Mgr Ian a indiqué que le groupe travaillait maintenant sur des actions concrètes qui reflétaient son mandat d’aider la Communion à « cheminer ensemble » malgré les différences. Il a exprimé son espoir que le temps de prière aiderait également à créer une dynamique en vue de la Conférence de Lambeth de 2020.

Le groupe a dit que sa prière pour la Communion avait été un écho de la prière du Christ qu’« ils soient tous un… pour que le monde croie », et qu’elle continuerait de l’être… et que l’unité du groupe, sa vie et son témoignage « s’appliqueraient sans cesse à demeurer dans la volonté du Christ. »

El Grupo de Trabajo del Arzobispo de Canterbury prepara un tiempo de oración y arrepentimiento

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 11:59am

El Grupo de Trabajo creado tras la Reunión de los Primados de 2016 ha presentado las propuestas iniciales para un tiempo de arrepentimiento y de oración en toda la Comunión Anglicana. Este tiempo tendrá lugar desde Pentecostés hasta finales de 2019, y para su lanzamiento se difundirá una oración especial.

El Grupo, reunido esta semana en Londres, anunció que este tiempo se centrará cada semana en una provincia determinada. La oficina de la Comunión Anglicana preparará y distribuirá el material de apoyo para este tiempo.

El Obispo Ian Ernest del Océano Índico, a quien se le encomendó la presidencia de la sesión de esta semana, manifestó que este tiempo de oración y arrepentimiento sería el regalo de la Comunión a un mundo de dolor.

«Nos damos cuenta de las dificultades, y esto causa dolor. El mundo conoce la ruptura. La Comunión Anglicana también ha tenido sus problemas y sus rupturas.

«Así pues, nuestra respuesta es: creemos firmemente que la oración nos ayudará a crecer y a amar a pesar de nuestras diferencias. Creemos firmemente que nuestras diferencias no tienen por qué conducirnos hacia el odio, sino que la oración puede ayudarnos a sanar allí donde las relaciones se hayan deteriorado.

«Sabemos que estamos llamados a ser instrumentos del amor y de la misericordia, de la justicia y de la verdad.»

El Grupo de Trabajo fue creado en enero de 2016 por el Arzobispo de Canterbury a petición de los Primados. Su cometido es restaurar relaciones, restablecer la confianza y la responsabilidad mutua, sanar el legado de dolor y explorar relaciones más profundas. Presentó un informe provisional sobre el trabajo realizado hasta la fecha en la Reunión de Primados de Canterbury de octubre del año pasado.

El Obispo Ian mencionó que en estos momentos el grupo está preparando acciones concretas que reflejen su mandato de ayudar a la Comunión a «caminar juntos» a pesar de las diferencias. También expresó su confianza en que este tiempo de oración contribuirá a generar un mayor impulso con vistas a la Conferencia de Lambeth de 2020.

El grupo declaró que su oración por la Comunión se había hecho y continuaría haciéndose eco de la oración de Cristo, «para que todos sean uno […] para que el mundo crea […]», y para que la unidad, la vida y el testimonio del grupo «se esfuerce en hacer la voluntad de Cristo».

The Group’s membership is drawn from across the Anglican Communion:
  • Richard Clarke
    Archbishop of Armagh and Primate
    Church of Ireland 
  • Michael Curry
    Presiding Bishop and Primate
    US-based Episcopal Church
  • Ian Ernest
    Bishop of Mauritus
    Province of the Indian Ocean
  • Philip Freier
    Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate
    Anglican Church of Australia
  • Moon Hing
    Bishop of West Malaysia and Primate
    Province of South East Asia
  • Elizabeth Paver
    Former vice-chair of the Anglican Consultative Council
    Church of England
  • Rosemary Mbogo
    Provincial Secretary
    Anglican Church of Kenya
  • Linda Nicholls
    Bishop of Huron
    Anglican Church of Canada
  • Paul Sarker
    Bishop of Dhaka and Primate
    Church of Bangladesh
  • and Josiah Idowu-Fearon
    Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Mensaje de Pascua 2018 del obispo primado Curry desde Tierra Santa

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 6:09am

El obispo presidente y primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry leyó su mensaje de Pascua 2018, de pie frente a la catedral anglicana de San Jorge [St. George] en Jerusalén. [El mensaje] fue filmado el Domingo de Ramos durante su visita a Tierra Santa.

“El odio no tiene la última palabra. La violencia no tiene la última palabra. La intolerancia no tiene la última palabra. El pecado y el mal no tienen la última palabra. Dios es la última palabra y Dios es amor”.

El Obispo Primado está recorriendo Tierra Santa durante la Semana Santa.

El feriado de Pascua se celebra el domingo 1 de abril.

El video puede verse aquí.

A continuación, el texto del mensaje de Pascua 2018 del Obispo Primado:

Saludos este Domingo de Ramos desde la catedral de san Jorge en Jerusalén.

Hay un pasaje en el capítulo 27 del Evangelio de Mateo en que los líderes religiosos y políticos se vuelven a reunir después de la crucifixión y ejecución de Jesús, después de haberlo puesto en el sepulcro. Una vez más se juntan para sellar la tumba y asegurarse de que no se propague ni siquiera un rumor de su resurrección. Y esto es lo que algunos de ellos dicen:

Por lo tanto, mandé que se selle el sepulcro hasta el tercer día. No sea que vengan sus discípulos se roben el cuerpo y le digan al pueblo que él ha resucitado de entre los muertos. Y este último engaño sería peor que el primero.

Es fácil pasar por alto, y algunas veces cómodo olvidar, que Jesús fue ejecutado, que Jesús fue crucificado por una alianza impía de la religión, la política y los mezquinos intereses económicos.
La política encarnada en Poncio Pilato, gobernador del Imperio Romano, y, como tal, representante de ese imperio y de todo su poder.

El rey Herodes, que escuchó a Jesús en uno de sus juicios, representante de los herodianos y de los mezquinos intereses económicos de ese tiempo.

El Sumo Sacerdote representante de la aristocracia religiosa que tenía un interés particular en mantener el statu quo.

Estos tres poderes —económico, religioso y político— se juntaron para crucificar a quien predicó el amor al Señor tu Dios, el amor al prójimo y que vivió acorde a esas enseñanzas.

La verdad es que el mensaje de Jesús era perturbador para el mundo de entonces al igual que lo es ahora. Y sin embargo ese mismo mensaje es la única fuente de esperanza en la vida para el camino de la cruz, el camino para vivir una vida libre de egoísmos, el camino para vivir una vida de sacrificio que busca el bien y bienestar de los demás, [el camino] libre del enfoque egoísta de los intereses propios. El camino de la cruz es el camino del amor. Esa es la naturaleza del amor. Y esa senda es la única esperanza para toda la familia humana.

La verdad es que el camino de Jesús era una amenaza para el mundo como era y al mismo tiempo representa la esperanza de la manera en que el mundo puede y debe ser.

Pero en ese tercer día después de la crucifixión, cuando por el poder titánico de Dios, por el poder del amor de Dios, Jesús resucitó de entre los muertos, Dios envió un mensaje y declaró que la muerte no tiene la última palabra. El odio no tiene la última palabra. La violencia no tiene la última palabra. La intolerancia no tiene la última palabra. El pecado y el mal no tienen la última palabra. La última palabra la tiene Dios y Dios es amor.

En nuestra peregrinación pasamos dos días en Jordania. En Amán en Jordania pudimos pasar algún tiempo sagrado y bendito, pero también doloroso con los cristianos iraquíes. Estos cristianos, muchos de los cuales son anglicanos, han tenido que huir de su país, Irak por causa de la guerra, la violencia, el odio y la profanación. Han renunciado a todo por no renunciar a su fe en Jesucristo. Y allá en Jordania con la ayuda de la Iglesia Anglicana y de muchas otras agencias de socorro, están por lo menos a salvo y esperan encontrar hogares seguros y permanentes en otros países.

Durante nuestras conversaciones, y al escucharlos, en un cierto momento, encontré que estaba citando un himno, una canción que muchas personas han escuchado en Pascua, al menos en nuestro país. Y no esperé que contestaran. Ustedes probablemente saben cómo va, dice “porque él vive”, refiriéndose a Jesús y a su resurrección, “porque él vive puedo enfrentar el mañana” Cuando yo cité esa canción, aquellos que han perdido sus hogares, las personas que lo han perdido todo excepto sus vidas, los que han perdido sus seres queridos, respondieron a las palabras de esa canción. Cuando yo dije “Porque él vive puedo enfrentar el mañana”, cuando yo dije Jesús está vivo, que se ha levantado de entre los muertos, los vi alzar sus rostros y responder con las palabras amén y aleluya.

Mis hermanos y hermanas, el mal no pudo detenerlo. La muerte no pudo detenerlo. La violencia no pudo detenerlo. Porque el amor de Dios, el corazón de Dios, la realidad de Dios es más fuerte que cualquier otra cosa. Y Jesús se levantó de entre los muertos en esa primera mañana de resurrección.

Dios les ama. Dios les bendiga Y que esta estación de Pascua sea el primer día del resto de nuestras vidas.


El Ilustrísimo Michael B. Curry
Obispo Presidente y Primado
de la Iglesia Episcopal

Archbishops issue pastoral letter after British abuse hearings

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 2:14pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint pastoral letter following the conclusion of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s first public hearings last week. The Inquiry heard three weeks of evidence in its case study of the Diocese of Chichester, part of its wider investigation into the Church of England and the Church in Wales.

Read the full article here.

New Zealand primates say church should be included in state abuse inquiry

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 2:10pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A Royal Commission of Inquiry established to investigate historical abuse in state care in New Zealand should be expanded to include the role of the church-related bodies, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia said. In a letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Children’s Minister Tracey Martin, Archbishops Winston Halapua and Philip Richardson said that the decision to ask for churches to be included in the Inquiry was made by the Standing Committee of the province’s General Synod when it met earlier this month.

Read the full article here.

South American bishop to tackle climate change at meeting in Peru

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 1:11pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishops from across the six countries of the Anglican Church of South America are to meet to discuss ways of tackling the “ever-growing environmental challenges resulting from climate change.” Anglican bishops and other delegates from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay will gather in Lima, Peru, in May “to consider and try to define the role of the church in response to the devastating social and environmental effects of climate change within their respective dioceses.”

Read the full article here.

Presiding Bishop begins a Holy Week pilgrimage in the Holy Land

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 10:12am

“The world doesn’t have to be this way because God has a dream and a vision for this world, and nothing can stop God’s dream,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry tells the congregation during the Palm Sunday Eucharist at the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr in Jerusalem. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Jerusalem] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry began Holy Week in the Holy City of Jerusalem by proclaiming the good news that Jesus has shown the world a way to live that is based in love, not tyranny, and can lead to the coming of the kingdom.

During his sermon at the Holy Eucharist at the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr, Curry contrasted the simultaneous entry into Jerusalem of two very different men: Jesus and Pontius Pilate. The latter, Curry said, rode in from the West on a war horse with legions of Roman soldiers and with “all of his disdain and arrogance and worldly power.”

“Jesus came in on the other side of town on a donkey,” Curry said, adding that Jesus’ timing was no coincidence. He meant to show that “there is another way; that you don’t have to live this way. The world doesn’t have to be this way because God has a dream and a vision for this world, and nothing can stop God’s dream.”

War, violence and hatred do not work, Curry said. “They may work for a day; tyrants may endure for a day, but they do not last.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has a pensive moment March 25 outside St. George’s College at the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr in Jerusalem before the Palm Sunday service begins. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Jesus shows a way to life in which there is room for all and the creation is preserved. “A way that can help us find life, real life,” Curry said.

The presiding bishop told the congregation about the March 24 marches all over the United States led by students who want to end gun violence. He compared their entrance into Washington, D.C., with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.

Echoing “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” the traditional Palm Sunday processional hymn, Curry said, “Yesterday, our children made hosannas ring again for they wanted the leaders of the nations, the leaders of my beloved country, to hear that the way of violence is not the way.”

“They marched for peace, they spoke of love, they asked our leaders to change laws so that all could be saved.”

The resurrection that comes a week after Palm Sunday, Curry said, was “God’s way of showing us that love, in the end, will win. God’s dream – God’s kingdom – will come on earth as in heaven.”

The Palm Sunday morning service, celebrated in Arabic and English, was preceded by the blessing of palm branches and a procession from St. George’s College Square into the cathedral, located on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem.

The Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, invited Curry to make a Holy Week pilgrimage through the Holy Land. The journey began in Amman, Jordan, on March 24. There, Curry went to St. Paul’s Church in the eastern part of the capital city to listen to the stories of Iraqi Christian refugees to whom the church ministers. Curry and his group then toured the site of Jesus’ baptism on the Jordan River, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is run by the Baptism Site Commission, an independent board of trustees appointed by H.M. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.

Curry will spend the week with Dawani exploring the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which is spread over five countries — Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. He has also begun learning about the struggles of the declining Christian population in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.

Throughout the week, the presiding bishop will also join Holy Week services, observances and celebrations, including the traditional Maundy Thursday foot washing and the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

In their first two days of their pilgrimage, both Curry and Dawani spoke of continuing to deepen what each called a long-standing relationship. During his sermon at a Palm Sunday Evensong, the archbishop welcomed Curry on his first official visit since becoming presiding bishop in 2015. Dawani was the first person to congratulate Curry after his installation at Washington National Cathedral.

The archbishop made Curry an episcopal canon of St. George’s Cathedral during Evensong. Dawani said he prayed that this honor would help the presiding bishop carry “this cathedral and the people of this land in your heart throughout your ministry.”

The Rev. Hosam Naoum, dean of St. George’s, told Episcopal News Service that it is “intrinsic and essential” to have the Episcopal Church represented in the cathedral as an episcopal canon. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, as well as the leaders of Anglican Communion provinces in each continent, also hold such status. Presiding Bishops Ed Browning, Frank Griswold and Katharine Jefferts Schori also held the position during their tenures.

“The cathedral here becomes a sign for unity in the Anglican Communion, despite all the difference we have,” Naoum said. “That is the message that comes out from Jerusalem to the whole worldwide church.”

The canons are expected to pray for the cathedral and the diocese’s ministry as a way to “strengthen and deepen” the existing relationships. “It also becomes a mutual relationship where we will also be supportive of your ministry” in the Episcopal Church, the dean said.

Those relationships “become a beacon of how for the whole world when the church is united as a community and as a family of Christ,” he said.

Such unified Christian communities are becoming more and more important, the archbishop said. During his sermon, Dawani said Jerusalem’s traditional Palm Sunday procession up and down the Mount of Olives includes Christians of every denomination and expression. More than 20,000 pilgrims walk together, “reminding us that in this land the Christians speak with one voice; this is a voice that must speak in a way that speaks the truth of Christ, sometimes even in the face of great forces.”

Those who would be what Dawani called “Christ’s prophets in the world” must know that, especially in the Middle East, communities and people are suffering because others “do not respond in love, but in hate.”

The archbishop reminded Curry that he had heard some of the stories of what happens when people do not respond with love when he met with Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan. He asked Curry to tell their stories to those who could help the refugees leave the limbo in which they find themselves.

“These people lost everything, but not their faith,” the Rev. George Al-Kopti, vicar of St. Paul’s, told Curry during his visit. “It challenges me: What shall I do if that happens to me?”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Jerusalem Anglican Archbishop Suheil Dawani pose with Iraqi Christian refugees outside of St. Paul’s Church in Amman, Jordan, after their March 24 meeting. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. George Al-Kopti, vicar of St. Paul’s Church in Amman, Jordan, left, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Jerusalem Anglican Archbishop Suheil Dawani and the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, listen March 24 to the stories of Iraqi Christian refugees at St. Paul’s. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service[/caption]

Al-Kopti said St. Paul’s began working with Syrian refugees, but most of them have been able to leave Jordan. Now, they minister to the Iraqi Christians, who told Curry they are not allowed to work, and they feel unwelcome in Jordan. However, persecution in Iraq means they cannot go home. They are waiting for official United Nations designation as refugees, which would allow them to emigrate.

The Rev. George Al-Kopti, vicar of St. Paul’s Church in Amman, Jordan, left, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Jerusalem Anglican Archbishop Suheil Dawani and the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, listen March 24 to the stories of Iraqi Christian refugees at St. Paul’s. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“I am a Christian and I have the peace of Christ in my heart. I know from the Bible that Christians are to be persecuted, but this is a bad situation we live with in Jordan after we get our homes and our country, and our lives there taken from us,” one woman told Curry. “We’re waiting. We’re doing nothing. We’re waiting to have life.”

Al-Kopti said the story of Iraqi Christian refugees “is not on TV; it is not on the media. Everybody is silent about their agony, about their losses.”

“We would like you to be a voice for them,” he told the presiding bishop.

Curry spent almost an hour listening to a group of close to 30 men and woman, some of whom came with their children. “We want your brothers and sisters in the United States and in other countries to hear your story and understand your struggle,” Curry said. “We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and maybe one way we can help you is to be sure your story is heard in the U.S.”

“We will do our very best to help your story to be told. You are not alone. We follow Jesus and he rose from the dead, and because he lives we can face tomorrow.”

The presiding bishop is accompanied by the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Margaret Rose, Episcopal Church deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations; the Rev. Robert Edmunds, Episcopal Church Middle East partnership officer; and Sharon Jones, Curry’s executive coordinator.

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

Presiding Bishop in Jerusalem: Jesus came to the Holy City to show us a new way

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 10:12am

[Episcopal News Service — Jerusalem] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who is on a Holy Week pilgrimage in the Holy Land, preached March 25 at the Palm Sunday Eucharist at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral here.

Curry told the congregation that Jesus deliberately entered Jerusalem at the same time as Pontius Pilate to point to a different way of life, one that is grounded in love and not tryanny.

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

Faith leaders discuss gender justice at UN gathering on women

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:28pm

[World Council of Churches] As the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women was underway through this week in New York City, the Rev. Terrie Robinson encouraged faith leaders to see their positive role in speaking out for gender justice in their communities.

When it comes to living and working with a sense of justice, “faith leaders and faith groups – at least where they are adequately equipped – have huge potential,” she said.

As co-chair of Side by Side, a faith movement for gender justice, Robinson believes that faith leaders have great power to help people live with equality and dignity. “There is a faith imperative for gender justice,” she said. “People still listen to faith leaders. Governments still listen to faith leaders.”

Speaking as part of a panel on March 15, Robinson highlighted some of the strides faith leaders have made in helping people to better lives. “In recent years we’ve seen how faith leaders can dismantle the stigma around HIV and AIDS. We have seen faith leaders lead communities in letting go of centuries-old practices that led to the spread of ebola.”

When it comes to gender justice, Robinson acknowledged the collective church has, at times, oppressed and discriminated against women. “We’ve gotten it wrong plenty of times,” she said. “But we can reclaim our sacred texts and reclaim our job. Faith leaders can be agents of change in their communities.”

Read the full article here.

Lambeth Palace gathering aims to strengthen religious liberty in British Commonwealth

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:26pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Parliamentarians and religious leaders from around the British Commonwealth will gather at Lambeth Palace next month to discuss ways to strengthen religious liberty. Details of the event were given by Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff during a debate in the House of Lords on March 22. In the debate, one member of the House of Lords highlighted the fact that while 95 percent of people in the Commonwealth profess a religious belief, around 70 percent of the population live with high or very high government restrictions on the right to freedom of religion and belief.

Read the full article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s relationships task group plans season of repentance and prayer

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:22pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Provisional plans for a season of repentance and prayer across the Anglican Communion next year have been put forward by the task group, which was set up after the Primates’ Meeting in 2016. The season would be launched with the publication of a specific prayer and would run from Pentecost until late in 2019.

The Group, which has been meeting in London this week, said the season would focus on individual provinces week by week. Materials to support the season will be gathered and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office.

Read the full article here.

Follow social media updates from Episcopalians at March for Our Lives events

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 5:14pm

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians and Episcopal leaders from across the U.S. will be in Washington, D.C., to participate in March for Our Lives on March 24, while others plan to attend corresponding local rallies.

The youth-driven movement behind March for Our Lives was sparked by outrage over a high school shooting Feb. 14 that left 17 students and adults dead in Parkland, Florida.

Episcopalians attending the Washington march or marches in other cities are encouraged to use the hashtags #MarchEpiscopal and #episcopal when posting to social media from the events, and follow the updates on the feed below.

As UN women’s meeting ends, Episcopal delegates plan to turn lessons into action back home

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 4:08pm

The Rev. Annalise Pasalo of the Diocese of Hawaii, from left, Coromoto Jiménez de Salazar of the Diocese of Venezuela and Demaris DeJesus of the Diocese of Puerto Rico were among the Episcopal Church delegates to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Photo: Annalise Pasalo, via Instagram

[Episcopal News Service] The 20 Episcopalians representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, or UNCSW, are wrapping up two weeks of meetings, conversations, activities and prayer in New York – an experience they say has emboldened them in their work toward improving the lives of women back in their dioceses.

“I want to spread the word,” the Rev. Annalise Pasalo, a delegate from the Diocese of Hawaii, told Episcopal News Service by phone. “I hope that the wider church is aware of the incredible work that we’re involved in at the U.N.”

Lois Frankforter was part of the Episcopal delegation because of her work as national president of the Girls’ Friendly Society, a Connecticut-based Episcopal organization dedicated to empowering women and girls through its branches in eight dioceses.

“The opportunity to come and be part of the presiding bishop’s delegation really has been a transformative experience,” Frankforter said. The women who spoke at UNCSW told many inspiring stories, she said, but their stories also highlighted the troubling challenges that many women and girls face around the world.

“Out of it, there’s still a sense of hope, that with collective action we can really make a difference in the world,” Frankforter said. “And it reinforces that there really is place for faith-based organizations to be a voice for advocacy.”

The 62nd UNCSW was held March 12-23, and this year’s themes were gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in rural communities. The presiding bishop’s delegation included 17 visiting delegates, along with two Episcopal Church staff members and an intern.

The delegation was a diverse group, ranging from 15 to 70 years old and coming from as far away as Venezuela and Puerto Rico, as well as from dioceses across mainland U.S. They also included one man, a researcher from Oklahoma who works on women’s issues there.

As U.N. negotiators worked to finalize and approve a report from the session, much of what the document is expected to contain mirrors the priorities identified by the Episcopal Church, according to Lynnaia Main, the Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations.

“We’ve been learning that the priorities our church has lifted up are very much mainstream,” she said.

Curry had submitted a statement to the UNCSW, based on General Convention resolutions. Episcopal delegates looked to that statement and its priorities in shaping their advocacy as they shared their own stories, reflections and concerns during the two weeks.

Curry’s statement called on the U.N. community and civil society to address gender inequality and barriers to empowerment of women and girls by doing the following:

  • Prioritize resources and programs for marginalized groups of rural women and girls,
  • Extend access to basic resources and services to rural areas,
  • Address environmental concerns and extend land rights, and
  • Promote gender equality education and practices and eradicate gender-based violence.

“Go, go do your work, don’t get weary,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry tells the people gathered March 12 in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, a few blocks from the United Nations building, for the opening UNCSW Eucharist. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“You have come to the seat of the nations of the earth to encourage our leaders and to show them how to end the nightmare and realize the dream for all of us,” Curry told the Episcopal delegates and their Anglican counterparts on March 12 at a Eucharist at the Episcopal Church Center that kicked off their work at UNCSW.

One of the messages that rang true for Frankforter was that while mission is global, the work is local.

“That really has hit home, with all the work that we do in all the various churches in our local communities, that everything we’re doing contributes to improve the lives of all,” she said.

Girls’ Friendly Society already is involved in programs at the local level to empower girls and support women. As an example, she said, one of its branches is responding to the problem of human trafficking by collecting basic supplies that can be given to women when they are freed from trafficking. The supplies are offered as “exit bags,” or “bags of hope.”

One lesson Frankforter plans to take home with her from UNCSW is the importance of communication and collaboration among organizations that serve women, so that their good work is amplified. Empowering women is a shared ministry, she said.

“The message really is that it’s going to take everyone at the grassroots level to make change, and that we all have to join together to do that,” she said.

“The other big message was that we have to hold our policymakers accountable … in our government, in our schools, in our communities and in our churches,” she said. “If we don’t hold them accountable then we won’t make the progress that we need to make.”

Pasalo works as a school chaplain at St. Andrew’s Schools, which operates an all-girls school and an all-boys school in Honolulu. Her first steps when she returns from UNCSW will be to share her experiences with others in her community, in presentations scheduled with the local Episcopal Church Women group and the all-girls school’s students. She also expects to speak about her UNCSW experiences at parishes around Honolulu.

The UNCSW included representatives of member states, U.N. entities and nongovernmental organizations like the Episcopal Church that have been accredited by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council. Pasalo was impressed by the Episcopal Church’s advocacy work with the U.N. and now wants to do her part to bring that work to the local level.

“Though it is global, it’s personal too, so we all have a part to play,” she said.

Pasalo is originally from Oregon and spent some time living in rural areas of the state. She also worked several years in rural Thailand and understands the challenges women face in those kinds of communities. “I see where their lack of infrastructure doesn’t always provide for the needs of the community, especially for women,” she said.

The discussions at UNCSW that resonated most for her were those focusing on improving gender parity at the higher levels of institutions in society. “I would love to see that happen across the board, in schools, in government, in churches,” she said.

The Rev. Glenda McQueen, the Episcopal Church’s partnership officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, said it was important that the UNCSW hears voices from the church’s Province IX, where problems of infrastructure, health care and access to education are a grim reality for many women and girls in rural areas.

“There are kids that have to walk hours to get to an elementary school,” she said, and some girls don’t have access to a high school education or have to stay home to work and help support their families.

McQueen appreciated the sessions at UNCSW that offered ideas for bringing greater health care and technology to such communities to improve women’s lives there. The goal, she said, should be to leave no one behind in this global economy, and Episcopalians are well-equipped to take up that cause.

“Prayer is also political action,” she said. “It’s praying together, but it’s also beginning to implement projects and programs. It’s also being able to access our government, our local community officials and going beyond that and raising these issues.”

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

El Obispo Primado y otras personalidades inician campaña para ‘rescatar a Jesús’ en la cultura de EE.UU.

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:28am

[Episcopal News Service] Un grupo de líderes protestantes y catolicorromanos, entre ellos el obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal Michael Curry, han iniciado lo que llaman una campaña para “rescatar a Jesús” de los que ellos creen que están usando la teología cristiana para fines políticos.

“Vivimos en medio de tiempos riesgosos y polarizadores como nación,  con una peligrosa crisis de liderazgo moral y político en los más altos niveles de nuestro gobierno y de nuestras iglesias”, dicen los 23 firmantes de la declaración. “Creemos que el alma de la nación y la integridad de la fe están ahora en juego”.

El grupo dice que el papel de la Iglesia es cambiar al mundo mediante la vida y el amor de Jesucristo, en tanto el gobierno debe servir al bien común protegiendo la justicia y la paz, recompensando la buena conducta e impidiendo la mala. “Cuando el liderazgo político desvirtúa ese papel, los líderes religiosos deben levantarse y pronunciarse”, afirman los signatarios, citando al Rdo. Martin Luther King Jr., quien dijo que la Iglesia es la conciencia del Estado, no su dueña ni su sierva.

“Rescatar a Jesús: una confesión de fe en tiempos de crisis”, ofrece seis “afirmaciones” de lo que el grupo —en la actualidad 23 personalidades de peso— cree “y el consecuente rechazo de las prácticas y directrices de los líderes políticos que peligrosamente corroen el alma de la nación y amenazan profundamente la integridad pública de nuestra fe.

“Oramos que nosotros, como seguidores de Jesús, encontremos la profundidad de la fe para enfrentar el peligro de nuestra crisis política”.

En resumen, los firmantes, en sus afirmaciones y rechazos, dijeron creer que:

  • Cada ser humano está hecho a imagen y semejanza de Dios y, por tanto, “rechazamos el resurgimiento del nacionalismo y del racismo blanco en muchos frentes de nuestra nación, entre ellos los más altos niveles del liderazgo político”.
  • Somos un solo cuerpo y, por tanto, “rechazamos la misoginia, el maltrato, el abuso violento, el acoso sexual y el asalto a las mujeres que se ha manifestado en nuestra cultura y en nuestra política, incluidas las iglesias, y la opresión de cualquier otro hijo de Dios”.
  • “La manera en que tratamos a los hambrientos, los sedientos, los desnudos, los extranjeros, los enfermos y los presos es la manera en que tratamos a Cristo mismo” y por tanto “rechazamos el lenguaje y las normas de los líderes políticos que servirían para degradar y abandonar a los más vulnerables hijos de Dios”.
  • “La verdad es moralmente central a nuestras vidas personales y públicas” y, por tanto, “rechazamos la práctica y el modelo de mentir que están invadiendo nuestra vida política y civil”.
  • El camino del liderazgo de Cristo es el servicio, no la dominación y, por tanto “rechazamos cualquier tendencia hacia un liderazgo político autocrático y un gobierno autoritario… [que] suscitan la más profunda preocupación por la idolatría política, acompañada por nociones de autoridad falsas e inconstitucionales”.
  • Jesús “nos dice que vayamos a hacer discípulos de todas las naciones” y, por tanto “rechazamos [la consigna de ‘Estados Unidos de] América primero’ como una herejía teológica para los seguidores de Cristo”.

La declaración dice en su conclusión que “nuestra urgente necesidad, en un tiempo de crisis moral y política, es recobrar el poder de confesar nuestra fe. Lamentarse, arrepentirse y luego reparar”.

El Rdo. Jim Wallis, fundador de Forasteros [Sojourners] y Curry comenzaron a conversar a principios de este año acerca de la necesidad de una declaración como ésta. Los firmantes se pusieron de acuerdo sobre el texto de la declaración en un retiro del Miércoles de Ceniza que Curry organizó en el Centro [Denominacional] de la Iglesia Episcopal en Nueva York.

“Me uno a otros líderes de la Iglesia cristiana en esta confesión de lo que exige la fe en tiempos como estos”, dijo Curry el 22 de marzo en una declaración a Episcopal News Service. “Cuando nos enfrentamos a los problemas sociales, nuestra Iglesia no ha permanecido en silencio y seguiremos luchando por la justicia y por la paz. Nuestro papel es de liderazgo moral para nuestra nación, para nuestra Iglesia y para nosotros mismos”.

El mensaje de “Rescatar a Jesús”, dijo Wallis en un comentario el 22 de marzo en la página web de Sojourners, debe ser “algo que sería mucho más que simplemente otra declaración a firmar y luego archivarla.

“Más bien, con un espíritu de humildad compartida, nos sentimos llamados a actuar como [hermanos] mayores en un tiempo como este y encomendar nuestro mensaje a las iglesias para un proceso de oración, estudio, reflexión y acción”.

Wallis tituló su comentario: “Rescatando a Jesús: Como la fe confesante puede responder a una crisis moral y constitucional”.

Los firmantes han abierto un sitio web con el nombre de  Rescatando a Jesús [Reclaiming Jesus] donde puede descargarse la declaración y un resumen de una página. Ha de ser también una recopilación de materiales además de un “currículo del discurso civil” de cinco semanas que ya se ha publicado.

Los firmantes actualmente son:

  • Obispo Carroll A. Baltimore, presidente y director ejecutivo de Redes Interreligiosas de Alianza Global
  • Dr. Peter Borgdorff, director ejecutivo emérito de la Iglesia Cristiana Reformada en Norteamérica
  • Amos Brown, presidente de la Comisión de Justicia Social de la Convención Bautista EUA [National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.].
  • Dr. Walter Brueggemann, profesor emérito, Seminario Teológico de Columbia.
  • Tony Campolo, cofundador de Cristianos de las Letras Rojas [Red Letter Christians].
  • Iva Carruthers, secretaria general de la Conferencia Samuel DeWitt Proctor.
  • Michael B. Curry, obispo presidente y primado de la Iglesia Episcopal.
  • Dr. James Forbes, presidente y fundador de Fundación para la Salud de las Naciones [Healing the Nations Foundation] y profesor de predicación en el Seminario Teológico Unión.
  • Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, secretario general emérito de la Iglesia Reformada en América.
  • Dra. Cynthia Hale, pastora principal de la Iglesia Cristiana Rayo de Esperanza [Ray of Hope], Decatur, GA
  • Dr. Richard Hamm, ex ministro general y presidente de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo)
  • Dr. Joel C. Hunter, organizador y presidente de Comunidad de la Fe, Red de Recursos Humanitarios.
  • Dra. Jo Anne Lyon, superintendente general emérita de la Iglesia Wesleyana
  • Obispa Vashti McKenzie, 117ª. obispa elegida y consagrada de la Iglesia Africana Metodista Episcopal.
  • Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., co-coordinador de la Red Nacional de Clérigos Afroamericanos.
  • John Perkins, presidente emérito y miembro fundador de la Asociación Cristiana para el Desarrollo Comunitario
  • Obispo Lawrence Reddick, director ejecutivo de la Iglesia Cristiana Metodista Episcopal.
  • Richard Rohr, fundador del Centro para la Acción y la Contemplación.
  • Ron Sider, presidente emérito de Evangélicos por la Acción Social.
  • Jim Wallis, presidente y fundador de Forasteros [Sojourners].
  • Dra. Sharon Watkins, directora de la Iniciativa para la Verdad y la Justicia Racial del Consejo Nacional de Iglesias.
  • Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-coordinadora de la Red Nacional de Clérigos Afroamericanos; presidente del Instituto de Liderazgo Skinner
  • Obispo Will Willimon, obispo jubilado de la Iglesia Metodista Unida y profesor de Práctica del Ministerio en la Escuela de Teología de Duke.

Presiding Bishop, others begin campaign to ‘reclaim Jesus’ in US culture

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 5:19pm

[Episcopal News Service] A group of Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, have begun what they call a campaign to “reclaim Jesus” from those who they believe are using Christian theology for political gain.

“We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches,” say the 23 signers of the statement. “We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”

The group says the church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ, while the government should serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior. “When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out,” the signers say, citing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said the church is the conscience of the state, not its master or its servant.

“Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis” offers six “affirmations” of what the group, currently 23 strong, believes, “and the resulting rejections of practices and policies by political leaders which dangerously corrode the soul of the nation and deeply threaten the public integrity of our faith.

“We pray that we, as followers of Jesus, will find the depth of faith to match the danger of our political crisis.”

In summary, the signers, in their the affirmations and rejections, said they believe:

  • Each human being is made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore, “we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.”
  • We are one body and, therefore, “we reject misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God.”
  • “How we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself,” and, therefore, “we reject the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God.”
  • “Truth is morally central to our personal and public lives,” and, therefore, they reject “the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.”
  • Christ’s way of leadership is servanthood, not domination, and, therefore, “we reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule… raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority.”
  • Jesus “tells us to go into all nations making disciples,” and, therefore, they reject “‘America first’ as a theological heresy for followers of Christ.”

The statement says in its conclusion that “our urgent need, in a time of moral and political crisis, is to recover the power of confessing our faith. Lament, repent, and then repair.”

The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Curry began talking earlier this year about the need for such a statement. The signers agreed to the wording of the statement at an Ash Wednesday retreat that Curry hosted at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

“I joined with other Christian church leaders on this confession of what faith in times like these require,” Curry said March 22 in a statement to Episcopal News Service. “When faced with social issues, our Church has not been silent and we will continue to strive for justice and peace. Our role is one of moral leadership for our nation, for our church, for ourselves.”

The “Reclaiming Jesus” message, Wallis said in a March 22 commentary on the Sojourners website, needed to be “something that would be much more than just another statement to sign and then file away.

“Rather, with a shared humble spirit, we felt called to act as elders for a time such as this and to commend our message to the churches for a process of prayer, study, reflection, and action.”

Wallis called his commentary “Reclaiming Jesus: How Confessing Faith Can Respond to a Moral and Constitutional Crisis.”

The signers have set up a website, Reclaiming Jesus, where the statement and a one-page summary can be downloaded. There is also due to be a collection of resources in addition to a five-week “civil discourse curriculum” that already has been released.

The signers currently include:

  • Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, President and CEO, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks
  • Rev. Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director Emeritus, Christian Reformed Church in North America
  • Dr. Amos Brown, Chair, Social Justice Commission, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
  • Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Tony Campolo, Co-Founder, Red Letter Christians
  • Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
  • The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr. James Forbes, President and Founder, Healing the Nations Foundation and Preaching Professor at Union Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
  • Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA
  • Rev. Dr. Richard Hamm, former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Faith Community Organizer and Chairman, Community Resource Network
  • Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church
  • Bishop Vashti McKenzie, 117th Elected and Consecrated Bishop, AME Church
  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Co-Convener National African American Clergy Network
  • Dr. John Perkins, Chair Emeritus and Founding Member, Christian Community Development Association
  • Bishop Lawrence Reddick, CEO, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation
  • Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
  • Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
  • Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director, NCC Truth and Racial Justice Initiative
  • Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network; President, Skinner Leadership Institute
  • Bishop Will Willimon, Bishop, The United Methodist Church, retired, Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Duke Divinity School

Priest in same-sex marriage loses legal challenge to bishop’s ‘discriminatory’ response

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 1:57pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England did not unlawfully discriminate against a priest by refusing to grant a license after he entered a same-sex marriage, London’s Court of Appeal said March 22. The Rev. Jeremy Pemberton married his partner, Laurence Cunnington, in 2014 shortly after same-sex civil marriages were legalized in England and Wales.

Read the full article here.

Anglican Church of Southern Africa asks bishops to step up response to abuse allegations

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 1:55pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of Southern Africa, Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has written to the bishops of the province asking them to establish diocesan advisory teams to handle allegations of abuse. He is also “urgently consulting more widely on how the Church can not only act more effectively, but be seen to act effectively in cases of sexual abuse,” he said in a statement released March 22.

Read the full article here.