Episcopal News Service

Subscribe to Episcopal News Service feed
The official news service of the Episcopal Church.
Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

Bishop Victoria Matthews bows out with attack on cathedral preservation campaign

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 1:48pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The outgoing bishop of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews, has said goodbye to her diocese with an attack on civic authorities over their handling of the future of Christchurch Cathedral. The cathedral was all-but destroyed in a 2011 earthquake. The diocese’s property trust wanted to replace the building with a modern purpose-built construction; but faced a series of unsuccessful legal challenges from campaigners who wanted the old building reinstated. Last year, after a lengthy consultation and a promise of funds from campaigners and local and national government, the diocesan synod voted to go ahead with re-instatement rather than replacement.

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop of Canterbury urges Commonwealth to put words into action

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 1:43pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said that the Commonwealth of Nations will last and be a blessing to the world – if it continues to put its word into action. His comments came in a sermon during a special evensong service at Westminster Abbey April 15, in advance of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London and Windsor. He told the congregation, which included government leaders, diplomats, officials and an ecumenical group of church leaders, the Bible, “in the clearest terms,” sets out the way people are to behave: “It is to raise up the poor, to bring freedom to the captives, to lighten the load of the suffering,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

Episcopal Church joins call for end to Gaza violence and measures to protect Palestinians

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:19pm

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who visited Gaza City days before protests began along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, has added the Episcopal Church’s name to a joint statement protesting Israel’s deadly response to the violence.

The 15 denominations and Christian agencies say that they “cannot be silent” as Gazans have been killed or injured during the first two weeks of protests that are expected to occur until May 15. That is the day when Palestinians mark the “Nakba,” which is Arabic for “catastrophe,” and commemorates the estimated 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced off their land during the war that followed Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence from the British mandate of Palestine. That day is expected to be particularly fraught this year because it falls near the day when President Donald Trump plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a controversial shift in U.S. policy.

Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition into crowds of Palestinian protesters, killing 15 and injuring some 1,000 others during the first day of protests March 30, which was the eve of Passover. Some of those injured later died. Close to 30,000 Palestinians had gathered near the fence for what organizers call the “March of Return.”

A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during clashes, during a tent city protest along the Israel border with Gaza, demanding the right to return to their homeland, the southern Gaza Strip March 30. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

While the majority of protestors were said to have not engaged in violence, some reportedly used slingshots to shoot stones at Israeli soldiers, lobbed Molotov cocktails over the fence line and sent burning tires rolling to the fence. Israeli Defense Force spokesman Brig-Gen. Ronen Manelis said March 30 that Palestinians were attempting to cross or harm the fence and “IDF troops returned precise fire.” He added that live ammunition was used only against those attempting to harm the fence. The IDF has said Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, is exploiting the demonstrations as a cover to carry out terrorist attacks.

Violence broke out again a week later on April 6. Seven Palestinians were killed and about 1,400 injured, including nearly 400 with gunshot wounds, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said it  found that, in all, 26 people died, including three children, and 445 children were among the injured. OCHA said no Israeli casualties have been reported.

The churches and agencies said in their April 12 statement that they “support the Palestinian people as they courageously stand up for their rights.”

“We have worked in our own context in the cause of justice, peace, and equality, and continue to do so even as we recognize we have too often fallen short in these efforts. We reject the use of violence by individuals, groups or states,” they said. “In the wake of demonstrations that have resulted in tragedy and death, and anticipating the continuation of Palestinian protests over the coming weeks, we cannot be silent.”

The statement outlines a series of steps the groups would like to see taken:

  • An end to the use of deadly force by the Israeli military, and support for the call by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, to Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to shoot.
  • An investigation into the deaths and injuries suffered resulting from the use of force.
  • A censure by the United States, and particularly Trump and members of Congress, of “the violent and indiscriminate actions of the State of Israel” and holding Israel “appropriately accountable, ensuring that U.S. aid isn’t used in ways that contravene established U.S. and international laws.”
  • U.S. support for the rights of refugees, including Palestinian refugees, based on international law and conventions.
  • A decision by the United States to resume its full funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports schools, hospitals and other essential services for Palestinian refugees. The U.S. recently announced that it would provide $60 million to UNRWA with no assurance of further funding for 2018, an 83 percent funding cut over the 2017 contribution of $365 million.
  • A call for the international community, including the U.S. government, to insist on an end to the blockade of Gaza, “which has resulted in uninhabitable conditions for the people there, including poverty and lack of sufficient access to clean water, food, medicine and medical supplies, electricity, fuel, and construction equipment.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, left, and Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani walk March 26 through the barren area between an Israel checkpoint and Gaza City. They were going to visit the Anglican Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Their journey took place five days before violence broke out along the fence that separates Israel and the Gaza Strip. Photo: Sharon Jones

The statement said the Palestinians’ efforts to call the world’s attention to their struggle to  “recover, their rights—rights as refugees, to demonstrate, and to live in dignity” were met with “an immediate and tragic rejection of those rights.” The denominations and agencies declare themselves as “people of hope” who in the Easter season believe that those rights will ultimately prevail.

“In this time, we pray fervently, speak clearly, and act diligently in support of peace, justice, and equality,” they conclude.

The signers include the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., National Council of Churches, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society and the United Church of Christ.

After the first violence on March 30 and the day before the second round, Churches for Middle East Peace, or CMEP, a coalition of 27 U.S. denominations and organizations of which the Episcopal Church is a member, said, “we fully affirm the right of the Palestinian people to engage in nonviolent resistance.”

The organization said, “resorting to live fire against unarmed demonstrators is a negligent and inexcusable response that failed to distinguish between those who came to protest peacefully and those with more malicious intentions.”

In a related move earlier this week, Curry signed onto a CMEP letter to Trump calling on the administration to “protect the vulnerable Christian communities in the Holy Land” and oppose official Israeli efforts that it said would financially harm churches.

The letter refers to Jerusalem Municipality’s plan to collect taxes on all church property not used exclusively as houses of worship. Including back taxes, the churches were told to pay approximately $186 million, according to the letter. The Israeli Knesset is also considering legislation that would permit Israel to retroactively expropriate land sold by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches since 2010.

The Times of Israel recently reported that the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has been hit with a bill of the equivalent of nearly $2 million. Curry learned during his Holy Week trip to the Holy Land that Muslim religious groups would owe $120 million. Even though the controversial plan was put on hold early in March, the diocese’s accounts are still frozen.

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

Seminary of the Southwest cites church’s racial reconciliation efforts in announcing black scholars partnership

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:01pm

[Episcopal News Service] The Seminary of the Southwest is working with the Black Religious Scholars Group on a five-year partnership that will bring black scholars to the Episcopal seminary as visiting professors to improve racial diversity on the faculty and strengthen clergy formation on racial reconciliation issues.

The partnership creates the Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence, with the Rev. Melanie Jones selected as the first visiting scholar. Jones, a Baptist minister, will teach at the Austin, Texas, seminary for a year starting this fall.

“This is a kind of direct initiative in order to not only bring black voices into this space but also to enable these voices to shape the curriculum and also to shape the theological development,” Jones said in an interview with Episcopal News Service.

The Rev. Melanie Jones. Photo: Seminary of the Southwest

Jones grew up in the Chicago area and now serves as associate minister of the South Suburban Missionary Baptist Church in Harvey, Illinois. She studied economics and political science at Howard University, earning a bachelor’s degree, because she initially wanted to become a lawyer, but she grew to believe she could do more for social justice by focusing on spiritual development and community involvement.

While earning a Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Jones worked with faith-based programs there aimed at helping prison inmates successfully re-enter society, and she began teaching at the nearby American Baptist College, which has a history of engagement on social justice issues.

The Episcopal Church’s emphasis on racial reconciliation is one of the reasons Jones is looking forward to teaching at Seminary of the Southwest.

“If we’re calling for an inclusive world, if we’re calling for black lives to matter, if we’re calling for there to be valuing of bodies, human beings, then we ought to have a multitude of voices at the table, in the room, at the lectern,” Jones said, “and not only for moments, but for significant ways of shaping the development and the formation of its students and leaders.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has made racial reconciliation one of his top priorities, most notably through the “Becoming Beloved Community” initiative. As he was elected in 2015, General Convention supported his call to that ministry. Convention has passed more than 30 resolutions on the subject since 1952, and some dioceses have taken up their own efforts to confront hard truths about their complicity with slavery, segregation and lynchings.

Seminary of the Southwest, in announcing the partnership with Black Religious Scholars Group, cited an increased sense of urgency in the wake of recent episodes of racial hostility around the country.

“This past year has shown how important the work of racial justice and reconciliation is in the United States,” the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest, said in a news release. “Seminary of the Southwest believes that this work must include our own community of learning.

“It is our sincere hope that this partnership and what we learn from it will be a model for other seminaries to collaborate with aligned organizations to foster racial and ethnic diversity in their institutions, the church, and the world.”

Jones and subsequent visiting scholars will teach two courses each academic year at Seminary of the Southwest, one core course in the seminary’s curriculum and a second course that each visiting scholar will develop. The visiting scholars also will have opportunities to preach during worship services at the seminary and help shape and contribute to other aspects of campus life.

This also is a new venture for Black Religious Scholars Group, which in the past has connected its scholars with congregations in the black church tradition for symposiums that offer a mix of academic and spiritual enrichment. Stacey Floyd-Thomas, the organization’s executive director and co-founder, said he hopes the partnership with Seminary of the Southwest “serves as a hopeful beacon of great promise and wonderful possibility to other likeminded institutions.”

“The Black Religious Scholars Group acknowledges this partnership as an exemplary way in which theological education and the church can live into the promises of our ideals during an era that may otherwise suggest that all hope is lost in a church and society in deep crisis,” Floyd-Thomas said in the seminary’s news release. “The work that we are embarking upon is built on a steadfast belief that our shared Christian witness is far stronger than persistent economic insecurity, rising cultural intolerance, growing political divisions, and increased anti-immigrant attitudes.”

Seminary of the Southwest has one black professor on its faculty, Awa Jangha, though most of its 18 full-time faculty members are white.

The visiting professor program “will increase the diversity of our faculty and enrich the conversation around theology, race, and the church,” Kittredge said in an emailed statement to ENS. “The partnership will be a learning opportunity for the members of our ongoing community, faculty and students alike, and for the visiting professor.”

She added that the seminary looks forward to welcoming Jones in the fall.

“Living fully into the promise of diversity is an opportunity not only for Seminary of the Southwest but for the Episcopal Church as a whole,” Kittredge said. “We hope that what we learn will be of benefit to the wider community of the academy and the church.”

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

Archbishop of Kenya speaks out against politician’s polygamy suggestion

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 3:16pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, has said the church would resist moves to promote polygamy in the country. The subject hit the headlines in Kenya after Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba called for men to marry several women to ensure children in single-parent families had a father-figure. “We give birth to these children, and we do not want to own up to them,” she is reported as saying. “If you are a man from the Kikuyu community, and you can sustain five wives, have them; and if you are a man and you are in a position to bring up [many children], do it.”

Read the entire article here.

Young English adults still value church weddings, survey shows

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 3:11pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Research conducted for the Church of England suggests that almost three-quarters of unmarried adults younger than 35 still dream of getting married. The figure is taken from a survey conducted by 9Dot-Research for the Church of England’s Life Events team. It would appear to contradict statistics for the actual number of weddings, which show a continuing decline in both absolute numbers and in the rate: figures for opposite-sex marriage in 2015 show that there were 21.7 marriages per 1,000 unmarried men and 19.8 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women – the lowest rate on record.

Read the entire article here.

Bishop welcomes New Zealand government announcement on offshore oil drilling

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 3:08pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced a ban on new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration. In a move that has been welcomed by the bishop of Wellington, Justin Duckworth, Ardern said that existing exploration and mining rights would be protected but that the new restriction was part of a “just transition to a clean energy future.” She said that the coalition parties were “striking the right balance for New Zealand – we’re protecting existing industry, and protecting future generations from climate change.”

Read the entire article here.

Nigerian university investigating ‘sex for pass’ claims against Anglican professor

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:32am

[Anglican Communion News Service] A university in Nigeria on April 11 set up an investigation into claims that an Anglican priest who works as a university professor demanded sex from a female student in order to guarantee she passes the course. Nigerian media has named the man as a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Ife.

Read the full article here.

‘Service of cleansing and celebration’ to be held following nerve agent incident in Britain

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:30am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Sites across the center of Salisbury remain cordoned off more than a month after Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on a bench in the city center. They were later found to have been poisoned by Novichok, a nerve-agent linked to the Russian government.

On April 15, Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam will lead a “service of cleansing and celebration” in the parish church of St. Thomas’, not far from where the Skripals were found.

Read the full article here.

Nigeria’s president meets Archbishop of Canterbury in London

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:27am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, held a meeting April 11 with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Josiah Idowu-Fearon. The two Anglican leaders were received by Buhari at Abuja House in London, Nigeria’s High Commission. A presidency spokesman had earlier said that Buhari would be discussing “inter-religious harmony in Nigeria and the world” with the archbishop, who was described as the president’s “good friend.”

Read the full article here.

Church reopens in ‘joyful scramble,’ heralds reconciliation efforts with Los Angeles Diocese

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 3:16pm

The Rev. Cindy Voorhees receives an ovation April 8 during announcements at the first Eucharist held inside St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California, since 2015. Photo: Lissa Schairer

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal congregation in Southern California that had been barred from its church for three years amid a property dispute with the diocese has returned to St. James the Great Episcopal Church with a spirit of reconciliation and hope.

Families are inundating the church with requests for baptisms and weddings, the congregation is ramping up its outreach ministries and on April 8 worship services resumed at the Newport Beach church for the first time since 2015.

“It’s like a second startup, so we’re scrambling. But it’s a joyful scramble,” the Rev. Cindy Voorhees, vicar of St. James the Great, told Episcopal News Service. “We feel like we’re back home. It’s just time to thrive again, and we’re really just focusing on our mission and ministry of outreach.”

She got the keys to the church a couple weeks ago to inspect the structure for any maintenance requirements. Then last week, in preparation for the Eucharist on April 8, 25 to 40 volunteers showed up for five straight days to help clean the church, washing windows, vacuuming floors, scrubbing bathrooms. Voorhees and her staff are still working to get phone, internet and other services fully restored.

Many have described being back in the church as “surreal,” Voorhees said, and the mood among the 300 or so at the Eucharist was “extremely joyful.”

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor delivers a sermon April 8 at St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California. “Welcome home, people of St. James Episcopal Church,” he said. Photo: Lissa Schairer

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor preached the sermon. His episcopacy paved the way for the congregation to return to the church. He addressed the property dispute in the sermon, saying negotiations made it hard for him and other church leaders to fulfill their roles as pastors.

“We are reclaiming our pastorship this morning,” Taylor said, drawing a parallel between Jesus’ resurrection and the congregation. He repeatedly invoked a theme of reconciliation.

“We are inviting everyone in our diocese to come home to a new sense of belonging of being at home with one another in the diocesan family,” he said. “Reconciliation, my friends, is for any herder who has squabbled with another one.”

The property had been at the heart of disciplinary proceedings last year against Taylor’s predecessor, then-Bishop J. Jon Bruno, for his attempts to sell the church building. Members of St. James the Great had been forced to worship in a Newport Beach Civic Center community room while the property remained in dispute.

The disciplinary hearing panel found Bruno guilty of the St. James complainants’ allegations and said he should be suspended from ordained ministry for three years because of misconduct. Bruno retired at the end of November, and Taylor took over as diocesan bishop on Dec. 1.

In November, the Diocese of Los Angeles released a statement outlining a plan for future use of the church property, including the eventual resumption of worship services there by the St. James the Great congregation. The diocese plans to use part of the facility for its Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries.

The diocese also committed to helping St. James the Great regain mission status. For now, it is a mission station with Voorhees as vicar. She hopes the diocesan convention in December will consider granting mission status.

Until then, St. James the Great has plenty to do. Although it had continued to pursue outreach ministries while worshipping at the Civic Center, it now will be able to resume after-school programs and step up other initiatives serving children in the area.

About 300 people attended Eucharist on April 8 at St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California. The congregation had previously been barred from the church due to a property dispute with the diocese. Photo: Lissa Schairer

And Voorhees said the church has a backlog of baptisms to schedule – her own 2-year-old granddaughter among them. Not many families wanted to hold baptisms in the Civic Center, so they waited and hoped.

St. James the Great also is fielding a sudden barrage of calls about weddings. It is located next to a boutique hotel, which makes it something of a destination for engaged couples planning their ceremonies and receptions, Voorhees said.

This is a big change from just a couple weeks ago, when the congregation was forced to join with a local Baptist church to worship Good Friday, and it celebrated Easter with a Eucharist at the Civic Center. Things are starting to return to normal, though Voorhees said her congregation remains committed to reconciliation work with the diocese.

“There’s rebuilding that has to go on, and I think that everyone is willing and wanting to do that,” she said.

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

Anglican Communion to play active role in next week’s Commonwealth leaders’ meeting

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:48am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Preparations are almost complete for the biennial meeting of leaders from 53 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, which will take place next week in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Lancaster House, the Commonwealth’s international headquarters. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is one of the world’s largest international summits, bringing together representatives from small and large nations across the globe. Representatives from a number of Anglican provinces within the Commonwealth will be taking part; and in a parallel event, the archbishop of Canterbury will host a high-level roundtable on freedom of religion or belief at Lambeth Palace, his official London residence.

Read the entire article here.

Bishop’s fear of ‘a government that has become a nightmare to the poor and the minorities

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:46am

[Anglican Communion News Service] The moderator of the united Church of South India, Bishop Thomas K Oommen, has accused the Indian government of being “a danger to the very fabric” of the country. In an open letter, he accuses the government of adopting “Hindutva supremacist ideology” – an extreme form of Hindu nationalism; in a country whose constitution “declares liberty, equality, and fraternity as its ideals; assures social, economic and political justice to the citizens of India; offers liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship; provides equality of status and opportunity to all the people; and strives to promote fraternity among all the citizens.”

Read the entire article here.

Archbishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island gives support to anti-fracking movement

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:43am

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop Ron Cutler has given his support to a campaign against the lifting of a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia. Bishop Ron added his weight to a letter signed by representatives of 40 different community groups who oppose any lifting on the ban. Fracking is the extraction of oil or gas from subterranean rocks, through the use of high pressure liquid to force open fissures. It is opposed by environmentalists because of the damage it can cause to the environment.

Read the entire article here.

Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in Ireland herald 20th anniversary of Belfast Agreement

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 1:33pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement celebrating “all that has been achieved in building peace” since the historic Belfast Agreement was signed 20 years ago. In a joint statement on eve of the 20th anniversary of the agreement, which is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was agreed by political parties on April 10, 1998 – Good Friday – Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin, say that the agreement “has continuing potential to transform society and life for all of us. Nothing remotely its equal has been outlined then or since.”

Read the entire article here.


South Africa will ‘stop and reflect’ for funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 1:04pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, which will be held at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium April 14, will cause South Africa to “stop and reflect,” the archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said. Speaking to the Anglican Communion News Service, Thabo said: “the nation – like we did with Albertina Sisulu – will stop and reflect on the democratic values that Winnie Mandela and the people she worked with stood for. The nation will cry, the nation will reflect deeply, and the nation will say ‘how do we move forward?’ in terms of who we are, particularly around the issues of the value of one-another, the respect for one-another, and inter-racial harmony and equality.”

Read the entire article here.

RIP: First Bishop of El Camino Real Shannon Mallory

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 3:17pm

[Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real] The Rt. Rev. Charles Shannon Mallory, 81, first bishop of the San Jose, California-based Diocese of El Camino Real, died peacefully in Monterey, California, on April 4. Mallory, who led El Camino Real from its founding in 1980 through his retirement in 1990, had recently returned to Monterey County and was preceded in death last November by his wife Marti.

Born Sept. 9, 1936 in Dallas, Texas, Mallory grew up in Van Nuys, California, completing his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the General Theological Seminary in New York. He entered the mission field after his ordination to the diaconate in the Diocese of Los Angeles. In 1961 he was ordained priest in Africa where he exercised his ministry first as a missionary in Namibia, South Africa, and Uganda, then as the first bishop of Botswana. In 1978, after 18 years in Africa, he and his family returned to the United States where Mallory served as assistant bishop in the Diocese of Long Island.

He was elected the first bishop of El Camino Real in 1980 and his installation took place that October in San Juan Bautista. The Rt. Rev. John Allin, then-presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, presided over the service in the plaza of the historic California mission.

“We are a pilgrim Church on the King’s Highway,” Mallory noted at the time. “This new diocese is an optimum size for rediscovering and experiencing some of the dynamic qualities of the early Church.” His vision for the diocese included “a more effective and supportive quality of fellowship among clergy and laity,” less hierarchy and “more of a collegial relationship among bishop, clergy and laity.”

Following his retirement Mallory served in the Diocese of Oklahoma, then lived and served in Indian Wells, California, as a member of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. He authored two books – “Blacklisted!,” his memoirs of 18 years of travelling throughout Africa, and “Other Roads Less Traveled,” a collection of sermons and meditations that ask and answer a range of provocative questions about God, death, the value of prayer, the common thread of religions and more. He continued to write and inspire until his death.

“Bishop Shannon was able to support the Diocese of El Camino Real in its call to be a missional diocese with a collaborative mode of ministry among lay and clergy leaders,” said the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, current bishop of El Camino Real. “His interest in people, their spiritual journeys, and his sense of adventure were gifts to our diocese in its earliest days, nurturing it as a place where the Gospel could always flourish amidst a very diverse and rapidly changing context. He will always be a critical part of the story of El Camino Real and will be missed.”

Mallory was predeceased by Martha (“Marti”), his most recent wife, and before that Antonia (“Toni”). He is survived by his brother William Lee Mallory and his first wife Mondi, mother of his five children, plus nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His memorial will be at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California, to be announced at a later date.

Texas Court of Appeals judgment favors Episcopal Church parties

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 3:08pm

[Episcoapl Diocese of Fort Worth] The Fort Worth Court of Appeals issued a 178-page opinion April 5 in favor of the loyal Episcopalians of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. In a decision authored by the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s 2015 judgment for the breakaway parties and held that Episcopalians are entitled to control both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and its corporation.

Noting that the parties agreed that the corporation held legal title to all of the property in dispute, the Court of Appeals also analyzed two examples of the many deeds at issue. The Court of Appeals rendered judgment in favor of the Episcopalians on those two deeds, both of which relate to property occupied by All Saints Episcopal Church (Fort Worth). The Court of Appeals then remanded the many other, similar deeds to the trial court so it could rule on those deeds using the same analysis.

“We are very grateful for the care taken by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals in reaching its decision,” said Bishop Scott Mayer of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth said. “As this unfolds, the people and clergy of our diocese will, as always, carry on our work as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We continue to hold all involved in our prayers.”

The Episcopal parties and congregations look forward to the resolution of this matter and the trial court’s enforcement of the Court of Appeals’ opinion.

The opinion is available here.

Anglican bishops join other faith leaders to criticize British ‘two-child’ welfare cap

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 3:01pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] A group of 60 Anglican bishops have been joined by other faith and charity leaders to criticize a British government cap on the number of children in a family who count for welfare purposes. Tax credits and universal credits are two welfare benefits paid to unemployed people and those on low-incomes. Since last year, calculations of the amount families receive have been restricted to count no more than two children. In a letter published in The Times newspaper April 6, faith leaders say it risks tipping “an estimated extra 200,000 children into poverty.”

Rained out at anti-racism rally, presiding bishop vows ‘we will act now for our future’

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 4:09pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, both of whom were bumped from the A.C.T. to End Racism Rally line-up due to weather delays, prepare to record a video message from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo: Neva Rae Fox

[Episcopal News Service] Looking back on the horrific assassination 50 years ago of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and looking forward to the end of racism, Episcopalians came with thousands of others to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. April 4 for the A.C.T. to End Racism Rally.

The day began cold and windy, and just before noon organizers delayed the rally for nearly 45 minutes out of concern for what one unidentified woman at the microphone called “a rapidly moving weather front” approaching the capital. She asked rally marshals to help attendees find cover in nearby museums, including the Smithsonian Institute.

That weather delay caused the organizers to reshuffle the line-up of more than 60 speakers. Both Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton were bumped from the list. Curry was scheduled to lead off the rally’s last section, which formed a call to action and next steps.

Instead, as the rally went on, he recorded a video message for the National Council of Churches, organizers of the event, to use.

“We will act now, and we will act for our future, joining our brothers and sisters so that the future for our children will be a future worthy of them,” Curry said as he stood on the mall with the U.S. Capitol in the background.

Curry said people gathered for the rally to “act now to engage in the work of seeking to eradicate racism and its vestiges in our country, and in our world.

“We do so not simply to remember the past, but we do so to learn from the past in order that we might live and enter a transformed future.”

Pointing over his shoulder to the Capitol, the presiding bishop said the building symbolizes “hope for our children – for generations of children yet to be born.” It is a hope, he said, “that there is equal opportunity for education no matter who they are, that there are voting rights for all citizens of this great country because all of us have been created in the image and likeness of God, as it says in the first chapter of Genesis, so that America will truly be America: a land of liberty, a land of justice, a land of equality.”

Curry pledged the Episcopal Church’s commitment to making that hope a reality. “On this day and the days going forward, we as Episcopalians join with our fellow Christians and other people of goodwill and of all faiths and types who seek to make this world something that more closely resembles God’s dream and not a human nightmare,” he said.

The rally’s speakers, each of whom were given a short amount of time at the microphone and many of whom ran over their time, included Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic and Zoroastrian leaders. Secular activists spoke as well, including actors, singers, doctors and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben & Jerry’s.

Cohen told the crowd that if he and Greenfield had been black, the ice cream company would not exist. “The deck would’ve been just too stacked against us,” he said.

We’re proud to have our cofounders Ben and Jerry speaking about systemic racism in America at #Act2EndRacism in DC. https://t.co/WNjrBZnv3Y

— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) April 4, 2018

The NCC said earlier that the rally “is part of a movement to change the horror of the assassination into a strong witness for ending racism.”

The NCC, to which the Episcopal Church and nearly 40 other Christian traditions belong, vowed to “pick up the torch and carrying on with a multi-year effort to finish the work Dr. King began.” The effort is also endorsed by an ecumenical group of religious organizations.

A.C.T. stands for awaken, confront and transform, and the NCC says its goal is to remove racism from the nation’s social fabric and bring the country together. The night before the rally, many participants met at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, D.C., to pray for an end to racism. The service took place on the Greek Orthodox Church’s Holy Tuesday, a day with a liturgy that is noted for its theme of repentance, according to the cathedral’s website.

The rally and surrounding events will be followed April 5 by a National Day of Advocacy & Action. The day will include training in how to organize effective legislative visits and other aspects of such advocacy work, as well as actual visits to congressional offices.

Curry’s planned participation in the rally was part of the Episcopal Church’s larger pledge “to act faithfully on its long history of honorable General Convention and Executive Council intentions but imperfect and fragmentary practical actions in matters of poverty, racism, sexism, and economic justice,” as the church’s Executive Council said in a resolution it passed at its January meeting. That resolution called for the church to develop an official relationship with the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Diocese of Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller, right, and the Rev. Chuck Wynder, the Episcopal Church’s officer for social justice and advocacy engagement, listen to speakers April 4 at the A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo: Neva Rae Fox

The Episcopal Church is in the midst of a season of justice engagement, the Rev. Chuck Wynder, the church’s officer for social justice and advocacy engagement, told Episcopal News Service. That season has already included Episcopalians’ participation in the March 24 March for Our Lives.

“One of our goals is to be in the public square on this 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr.  King,” Wynder said. “And, as a member church of the NCC, to participate actively in this long-term initiative to end racism by engaging in work and ministries of racial justice, racial equity and racial reconciliation both inside the church and in our communities.”

By being involved in the A.C.T. rally, the Episcopal Church can “be in the public square and to state publically on this very important day where we’re going and where we hope to go.”

Wynder said the church’s involvement is also a way for Episcopalians to live into the Becoming Beloved Community effort that offers the Episcopal Church ways to organize its many efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a community of reconcilers, justice-makers and healers. Getting involved in the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign is a significant step in that direction, he said.

The 2018 campaign echoes King’s plan in 1968 for a Poor People’s campaign, a plan he announced in a sermon on March 31, 1968, from the pulpit of Washington National Cathedral.

Four days before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon at Washington National Cathedral. “There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right,” King said. Photo: The Archives of the Episcopal Church

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will,” King said in what would be his last Sunday sermon before his death.

“In a few weeks some of us are coming to Washington to see if the will is still alive or if it is alive in this nation. We are coming to Washington in a Poor People’s Campaign.”

King assured the congregation that this would not be a “histrionic gesture” or one meant to cause violence. “We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read one day, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists,” he said.

“We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.”

Those demonstrations had been tentatively set for June 15, 1968. King was gunned down on April 4 by an assassin in Memphis, Tennessee, four days after his sermon at Washington National Cathedral. Thousands of people spilled out of the cathedral on April 5 to mourn his assassination.

The cathedral will commemorate King’s sermon on April 4 with a choral evensong that will include scripture and music associated with the recognition of King. Following the service, the cathedral will play the sermon, titled “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” A non-downloadable audio recording is here.

The cathedral will participate in a worldwide tolling of church bells the evening of April 4. The toll will begin with the bells at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis at 6:01 p.m. CDT, followed by bells throughout that city, and then across the country and the world. The cathedral’s bells will sound at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Many Episcopal churches plan to join the tolling.

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, recently noted that King was invited to preach in the cathedral to “explain ‘to the white clergy and the people of Greater Washington’ that his planned Poor People’s Campaign was intended to be ‘non-violent’ and not ‘disruptive of life in Washington.’” However, some Episcopalians protested the invitation. “It appears obvious that King’s purposes are definitely racist (one group only) and whose goal is to stir up more racial tension and anxiety, which can only lead to disaster,” one woman wrote.

The cathedral will also commemorate King’s last sermon during its 11:15 a.m. Eucharist on April 8. The service will include recorded excerpts of King’s sermon along with music and prayers from the March 31, 1968, service.

The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, is interviewed in the media tent April 4 during the A.C.T. to End Racism Rally. Photo: Neva Rae Fox

And, in Memphis on April 7, St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Diocese of West Tennessee will host a commemoration of the April 5, 1968, Ministers March, during which about 300 clergy gathered at the cathedral the day after King was killed about two miles away.

“After prayer and soul-searching discussion,” the Very Rev. Andy Andrews, cathedral dean, said in a recent letter, they adopted a statement favoring the striking city sanitation workers whom King had come to the city to support. Approximately 150 ministers then marched from St. Mary’s to the mayor’s office to present their demands. Then-Dean Bill Dimmick led the march with the cathedral cross.

“The cathedral congregation has never been the same,” Andrews said in his letter.

St. Mary’s is hosting an all-day interfaith event that will include a block party and a worship service featuring some of the clergy who were at the original march. The march will also be re-enacted, and marchers are scheduled to meet with current Mayor Jim Strickland, whom Andrews said will “welcome us in a different fashion that Mayor [Henry] Loeb 50 years ago.”

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