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Who are the primates and what is the Primates Meeting?

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:42pm

[Episcopal News Service] Primates are the senior archbishops and presiding bishops elected or appointed to lead each of the 39 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are invited to the Primates Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consult on theological, social and international issues.

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting is one of the three instruments of communion, the other two being the Lambeth Conference of bishops and the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policymaking body. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” is recognized as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls the Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates and is president of the ACC.

In some Anglican provinces the primate is called archbishop or metropolitan, while in others the term presiding bishop – or as in Scotland, primus – is used.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also invites to the primates meetings the moderators who lead the united ecumenical churches of North India, South India and Pakistan.

In 1978 Archbishop Donald Coggan, the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, established the Primates Meeting as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”

The primates have met in Ely, England, in 1979; Washington, D.C., in 1981; Limuru, Kenya, in 1983; Toronto, Canada, in 1986; Cyprus in 1989; Newcastle, Northern Ireland, in 1991; Cape Town, South Africa, in 1993; Windsor, England, in 1995; Jerusalem in 1997; Oporto, Portugal, in 2000; Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2001; Canterbury, England, in 2002; Gramado, Brazil, in May 2003; London, England, in October 2003; Newry, Northern Ireland, in February 2005; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007; Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009; Dublin, Ireland, in January 2011; and Canterbury in January 2016.

The provinces and primates of the Anglican Communion are listed here.

Archbishop’s ‘profound sense of shame’ over church abuse failings

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:51am

Archbishop Justin Welby addresses journalists during the 2017 Primates Meeting. Photo: ACNS

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his “profound sense of shame” over church-based abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Archbishop Justin Welby made the comments at a press briefing during the Primates Meeting in Canterbury Cathedral. He had been asked about planned visits to Canterbury by groups of survivors on Friday, who want to ensure that their concerns are heard by the church leaders gathered for the meeting.

Welby said that the “extent of the legacy of abuse” was “one of the surprises” he faced when he became archbishop in 2013.

“I feel that the church – and it is widely accepted within the church – that we have a long history of significant failure,” he said. “We should be held to a higher standard because we are Christians. We are a church.

“But it is also clear that the issue of abuse of children and vulnerable adults goes right through our society – almost all our major national institutions have failed in that regard. As I say, we should be at a higher standard and my profound sense of shame at what the church has done remains and is central to my thinking about this.”

The archbishop told journalists that he wakes up at night “thinking what was done to people and our failure to respond to it properly.”

The church, he said, had “a long way to go” but had made “progress in current terms” in its approach to safeguarding. He said that no organization could “ever afford to say . . . ‘that’s behind us.’”

He wanted to say to survivors of abuse: “We know we did wrong. We’re trying as hard as we can to get things right.”

He explained that he spoke regularly with the primate of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, about that church’s response to safeguarding, saying that “the Australian Church has done a lot of work on this.” A royal commission – a formal public inquiry – has recently been held in Australia to investigate institutional responses to child abuse. A statutory public inquiry – the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – is currently undertaking a similar investigation in England and Wales.

Welby said that “in response to discussions with survivors and seeing the need for it,” he had written to the British Home secretary – the current Prime Minister Theresa May – before IICSA was announced to call for a public inquiry and to urge “that the Church of England should be one of the first” organizations to be investigated.

Together, the Church of England and the Church in Wales, form “the Anglican Church strand” of the IICSA inquiry. Hearings in the Anglican strand are expected to begin early next year. A preliminary hearing is taking place Oct. 4 in London.

On its website, IICSA say: “the inquiry welcomed the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the inquiry to investigate, as a matter of priority, the sexual abuse of children within the Church. Allegations of child sexual abuse within the Church of England, the Church in Wales and other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales (‘the Anglican Church’) are matters of ongoing public concern.

“This investigation will assess the appropriateness of safeguarding and child protection policies and practices in the Anglican Church. It will consider the adequacy of the past cases review of the Church of England and the historic cases review of the Church in Wales.

“As a case study, we will consider the experience of the Diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse and numerous investigations and reviews. We will also consider the case of Peter Ball, formerly bishop of Lewes and subsequently bishop of Gloucester, and investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offenses.”

Le Magazine Anglican : retour sur l’été 2017

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 4:05am

Pour écouter l’émission cliquer sur : http://frequenceprotestante.com/emission/magazine-anglican

L’église mémoriale du Général Lee à Lexington, en Virginie a été débaptisée en septembre. Elle a retrouvé son nom d’origine de Grace Church. C’est la conséquence des affrontements meurtriers de Charlottesville qui ont marqué l’été 2017 aux États-Unis.

Le Magazine Anglican a retenu cet épisode dramatique pour son émission de rentrée qui nous fait revivre les moments graves ou joyeux qui ont émaillé l’été des anglicans.

À l’origine des affrontements de Charlottesville, la décision, d’une part d’enlever la statue du général Lee, général en chef de l’armée des états confédérés du Sud, lors de la guerre de sécession et d’autre part de changer le nom du parc de Charlottesville appelé jusque-là parc Lee.

Des heurts violents ont éclaté entre des groupes d’extrême droite, suprémacistes (qui militent en faveur de la supériorité des blancs), néo-nazis et Ku Klux Klan et des contre-manifestants antiracistes. Ils se sont soldés par la mort d’une jeune fille (délibérément fauchée par un conducteur d’extrême droite) et une quinzaine de blessés du côté des antiracistes.

Depuis 2015, le « Vestry » de l’église, aujourd’hui dénommée Grace Church, réfléchissait à un possible changement de nom, mais se heurtait à la difficulté que Lee avait été membre de l’église pendant cinq ans après la guerre de sécession et que sa réputation en tant que chrétien est inattaquable.

Cette réflexion allait de pair avec une résolution de la Convention Générale de l’Église épiscopale en 2015 pour retirer le drapeau Confédéré des églises.  Selon les termes de la résolution, cet emblème de la guerre civile était en contradiction avec la promesse de fidélité à l’amour et la réconciliation prônés par Jésus-Christ.

Une décision prise début septembre à la Cathédrale nationale de Washington a peut-être servi d’exemple.

Après avoir retiré, en 2015, la représentation du drapeau Confédéré sur ses vitraux, le Doyen et le Chapitre ont décidé le 6 septembre de retirer les vitraux représentant les deux généraux Confédérés, Lee et Jackson.

La décision a été hâtée par les événements de Charlottesville, car la Cathédrale n’en était qu‘à la moitié d’un processus de discernement qui devait durer deux ans.

Ce processus invitait la communauté paroissiale à réfléchir à : la justice raciale, l’héritage de l’esclavage et comment répondre à l’appel de Dieu au XXIe siècle.

Il dépassait donc le simple cas des vitraux ou plutôt les remettait dans le contexte social et spirituel actuel pour se poser la question : est-ce que ces vitaux installés en 1953, ont encore aujourd’hui leur place dans ce qui est le « home » spirituel de la nation.

Autre événement marquant de l’été pour les épiscopaliens, retenu par le Magazine Anglican, pour son émission de rentrée : la sortie en salles aux États-Unis, le 25 août, du film All Saints (Toussaint). Le scénario reprend l’histoire vraie de cette église qui allait fermer, faute de paroissiens.

C’est son nouveau recteur Michael Spurlock, nouvellement ordonné, qui était chargé de fermer l’église. Lorsque un groupe de réfugiés Karènes de Birmanie se présente à l’église, le père Michael va se sentir investi d’une nouvelle mission.

Membres de l’église anglicane de Birmanie avant d’émigrer aux Etats-Unis et conduits par leur leader Ye Win, ils viennent demander de l’aide à l’église épiscopale Toussaint, en proposant de cultiver les terres de l’église.

Le prêtre et les paroissiens vont accéder à cette demande, les produits agricoles seront vendus et généreront des revenus, puis de nouveaux services seront développés : le rêve américain à la dimension d’une paroisse. Un rêve qui est devenu réalité depuis, puisque, l’église compte aujourd’hui 300 paroissiens. Un bel exemple de la façon d’accueillir l’étranger.

Outre ces deux événements qui ont marqué l’été des épiscopaliens, le Magazine Anglican passe en revue, l’actualité estivale des anglicans sur le continent européen et dans la communion anglicane.

Pour écouter l’émission cliquer sur : http://frequenceprotestante.com/emission/magazine-anglican

Le Magazine Anglican est diffusé, le 4e samedi du mois, à l’antenne parisienne de Fréquence Protestante. Via la radio numérique, chaque émission est accessible pendant six mois, aux auditeurs francophones d’Europe, d’Amérique, d’Afrique et d’Océanie.

Animé depuis 2012, par Laurence Moachon, paroissienne de la Cathédrale de la Sainte Trinité à Paris, le Magazine Anglican a pour objectif de mieux faire connaître la tradition anglicane / épiscopale.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship issues action alert: Host a Las Vegas vigil Oct. 4

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 6:00pm

[Episcopal Peace Fellowship]  Oct. 4 will be a National Day of Action to send #LoveToLasVegas when Donald Trump is expected to visit. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history deserves a strong unified response from those of us working to reduce gun violence in our country.

These vigils will honor the victims killed and injured with a strong message to #DemandAction to #EndGunViolence in our nation.

There will be anchor events in Washington D.C. and Las Vegas, with vigils taking place in churches, street corners and parks everywhere in between. Please open your churches, light some candles and host a vigil. Vigil bulletins created by Episcopal Peace Fellowship members are available on the fellowship’s liturgy resource page for you to adapt for your own use. 

Register your vigil so that folks can find it at this website.

And if you need any help at all, just message Episcopal Peace Fellowship on Facebook, and we’ll work with you. We’re in this together.

Oregon Bishop Michael Hanley posts statement on Las Vegas mass shooting

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 5:44pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Oregon]

From Bishop Michael Hanley:
So sad to once again wake up to the news of violence in America. Praying today for the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. Praying for the families of those killed and for all whose lives are irrevocably changed by the actions of this individual. My heart goes out to all affected. The Lord help us.

Please see the comments for liturgical and action resources as well as an invitation to join in a public sign of mourning from Episcopalians Against Gun Violence.

(Via Facebook.)

California bishop posts a statement about Las Vegas mass shooting

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 5:34pm

[Diocese of California] With heavy hearts, the Diocese of California is praying for the many victims of last night’s tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. May we as a nation set aside our differences at this dark hour to comfort all those who mourn. May we also find the resolve to end, once and for all, the senseless epidemic of gun violence ravaging our country.

“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” – St. Francis of Assisi

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California

(Via Facebook)

Message from Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona – Las Vegas shooting

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 5:00pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Arizona]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I share with you the statement issued today by the Bishops Against Gun Violence, of which I am a member. It is a call to prayer, but also to action.

One small, symbolic action is to join in the bell ringing scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. our time. If this is too short of a notice, you might consider doing it another time tomorrow.  

Please know of my solidarity with all of you as we mourn the loss of our neighboring brothers and sisters in Nevada. I have been in personal contact with Bishop Edwards of Nevada, who appreciates our support at this time.

Statement from Bishops United Against Gun Violence  

Faithfully,

Bishop Kirk Stevan Smith

Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

A letter from Bishop Gutiérrez of Pennsylvania regarding the shootings in Las Vegas

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 4:48pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania] “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  – Romans 8:38-39

As a community we are sickened and horrified. There are times in life when you just cannot find the words. As we confront yet another wave of death and violence I simply cannot believe the pain. Collectively we are all asking ourselves “Why?” Why such rage? Why are so many dead? Why is our nation once again left in mourning?

We offer our prayers for the more than 50 killed, more than 400 wounded and all those affected by this horror. As we celebrate the Eucharist and Daily Office in our parishes we collectively offer our prayers and plead for God’s wisdom and guidance. We believe in the knowledge that God was with them as they left this earthly journey in pain, yet, this scourge of violence cannot, cannot, continue. When will we look at one another through the eyes of Jesus Christ so that we may truly become instruments of God’s peace?

As a people of God, we will offer our hourly prayers. But we must do more.

We must resist the urge to polarize the issue along lines of race, religion and politics and instead come together as a single church and a single nation. I am asking the people of this diocese to place aside our political divisions and find a way to come together as a community and live out the message of Jesus Christ to the world. As it is written in Ephesians 4:2-3 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

As a people of God, we will offer our daily prayers. But we must be prophets of peace.

So long as people look to solve their disagreements with violence this needs to be our single greatest priority. The violence that rained down upon the crowd in Las Vegas reflects the worst of the sin and brokenness of our human condition. I am asking that we devote a portion of our Diocesan Convention to re-commit ourselves to the work of diffusing violence in our hearts, in our community, our nation and indeed throughout our world, including the role that guns play in this problem. Only then can we truly live into our calling as followers of Jesus Christ.

I ask that we become voices of reconciliation in a hurting world. We seek to be the face of Christ to the world. For the next 30 days may we pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer of St. Francis. In addition to prayer, may we become prophets of peace. We need to pray we have the courage to confront evil in this world. I ask that the Diocese of Pennsylvania now become a place that engages the world in peace and encourages respect for the sanctity of human life. We will find a way to shine a light in the darkness in the name of Christ. We have no other choice.

Bishop Dan Edwards is having all the church bells toll in Las Vegas, and throughout the Diocese of Nevada, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. (Noon our time). We ask that our parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania do the same. Please toll the bells once for each fatality as the death count is reported at that time; at present it stands at 58.

In Christ, 

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez

XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

Statement from St. Bart’s rector regarding the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 4:21pm

[St. Bart’s Episcopal Church – New York]

Dear Friends, 

As I begin this letter, I realize how many letters I’ve written to the people of God in the face of horrific events related to gun violence. Last night, at least 58 people were killed, and more than 500 were injured, while attending a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman, firing an automatic weapon from a hotel window, sprayed the crowd of 22,000 with bullets. 

It is one of the worst mass casualty incidents in U.S. history.

The letters I have written over the years have too many of the same components. Thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families. Profound thanks to the brave first responders who, in some cases, have put themselves in harm’s way to protect the innocent and care for the fallen. Recognition of persons who have exhibited extraordinary heroism. And finally, a plea for reasonable, sane, gun laws which do not eliminate gun ownership, but regulate the use of guns through registration and limit the civilian ownership of weapons designed for military use. 

By now, there is a familiar pattern to the exchange between the gun manufacturers’ lobbyists and those who advocate for stronger gun controls in the wake of these incidents. On the day of these shootings, and for several days afterwards, those opposing gun control will say, “Now is not the time to be discussing public policy or legislation. Now is not the time to discuss political responses.” Now, they argue, is a time for mourning to express our deep respect for the victims. 

But I can think of no more appropriate way to respect the victims of this grotesque act of mass violence than to speak candidly about the conditions which contributed to their deaths. No, we will never stop all gun-related deaths, and yes, there will always be people who seek to hurt and destroy others. But the number of gun-related deaths in our country has become as staggering as it is unacceptable. Here is an amazing fact:

“Since 1970 more Americans have died from guns (including suicides, murders, and accidents) than the sum total of all the Americans who died in all the wars in American history, back to the American Revolution.” [1]

It’s hard to believe, but here is a list of some of the mass shootings related to guns in the United States since late 2012:

  • July 12, 2016, Orlando, 50 dead, 53 injured.
  • July 7, 2016, Dallas, 5 dead.
  • December 2, 2015, San Bernardino, 14 dead, 17 injured.
  • November 27, 2015, Colorado Springs, 3 dead.
  • October 1, 2015, Roseburg, Oregon, 10 dead.
  • July 16, 2015, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 5 dead.
  • June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina, 9 dead.
  • May 23, 2015, Isla Vista, California, 7 dead.
  • October 24, 2014, Marysville, Washington, 4 dead.
  • April 2, 2014, Killeen, Texas, 3 dead, 16 injured.
  • September 16, 2013, Washington, D.C., Navy Yards, 13 dead.
  • June 7, 2013, Santa Monica, California, 5 dead.
  • December 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut, 28 dead. [2]

There are a variety of causes for these tragedies, but they all have a common denominator: easily accessible firearms with little regulation. 

I invite you to offer your deepest prayers for those whose lives have been taken in this most recent tragedy. Pray for those who have lost husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, boyfriends and girlfriends, sons and daughters. Pray for our legislators and public officials who form our public policies. 

I also invite you to write your elected representatives and make your voices as loud as the National Rifle Association’s voice. Let us make our voices as powerful as our prayers.

Faithfully,

The Right Reverend Dean Elliott Wolfe, D.D.

Rector of St. Bart’s Episcopal Church

New York, New York

[1] New York Times, October 2, 2017, Opinion Section, Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack, by Nicholas Kristof

[2] New York Times, October 2, 2017, Top Stories Section, Mass Shootings in the U.S. by Julie Turkewitz

A letter from South Carolina Bishop Skip Adams on the Las Vegas massacre

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 4:11pm

[Episcopal Church of South Carolina]

Dear People of God of The Episcopal Church of South Carolina,

A pall of darkness and horror has once again fallen over our beloved country. In the massacre in Las Vegas we know as of this writing that 58 people have died and more than 500 have been injured. It was an unspeakable act of evil. Our hearts go out to all the victimized, including their families, as we hold them in prayer that somehow mercy and grace may be known to them. Many times this comes in the form of the first responders, pastors and medical personnel who tend to their needs. They need our prayer as well.

The Episcopal bishop of Nevada, Dan Edwards, and the people of the Episcopal Church there, will be right in the middle of the responses needed so that a word of love may be spoken in the midst of hatred and violence. Edwards has asked that the Episcopal Churches across Nevada toll their bells in mourning at 9 a.m. Pacific time Oct. 3, once each time for the number of those killed, including the perpetrator. I am asking that our churches in South Carolina who have bells to toll them at noon Eastern time on Oct. 3, to join in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Nevada.

In addition to our prayer, we must also act. We must find a way to be in conversation about the culture of violence sweeping our nation and engage in repentance for whatever ways we participate in that culture, even unwittingly. The nature of gun violence in particular, as we know, is wrapped up in issues of poverty, class, mental illness and race. A serious conversation leading us to enact reasonable gun laws must be had, and so far it has eluded us as a nation. Some of you are aware that I am one of the Episcopal bishops who join in a group called Bishops United Against Gun Violence, and I direct you to that website for information: bishopsagainstgunviolence.org. We ask hard but necessary questions such as: “Why, as early as this very week, is Congress likely to pass a bill making it easier to buy silencers, a piece of equipment that makes it more difficult for law enforcement officials to detect gunfire as shootings are unfolding?” “Why are assault weapons so easily available to civilian hands?”

Our goal must not be just better laws, however. We are about changing hearts and human transformation. We follow the Prince of Peace and name Jesus as Lord. We are about healing and wholeness, building bridges across lines of division and hostility. This is the work we must continue to do, work that participates with our prayer and longing for the healing of the nations.

Please join in the ringing of bells tomorrow as you are able. Do gather together in prayer wherever you may be at that time. I leave you with the familiar, but oh so beautiful, A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 833.)

Blessings, peace and love to you all,

Bishop Skip

(I am grateful to my sisters and brothers in Bishops United Against Gun Violence for the Inspiration for this letter.)

Archbishop Welby ‘taken aback’ by Las Vegas prayer criticism

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:59pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said that he is “taken aback” by criticism of the decision to ask the Presiding Bishop of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church to pray for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Curry prayed for the victims at the start of Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, England, on Oct. 3, the first day of the Primates Meeting.

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gross, canon for communications and media relations for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), speaking on behalf of GAFCON, said that the decision to invite Curry to lead the congregation in prayer at the Evensong service “put the GAFCON primates in a difficult spot.” He said that they were “forced to look like they are walking together when they are not walking together.”

Full article.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence statement on Las Vegas shooting

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:34pm

[Bishops United Against Gun Violence] We share in the grief and horror of people across our country and, indeed, around the world in the wake of last night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. We have spoken with our Bishops United Against Gun Violence colleague and brother in Christ, Bishop Dan Edwards of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, and we have offered him and the people of Nevada our prayers and promises of assistance. We stand in solidarity with the diocese and the people of Nevada as they cope with this massacre.

It has become clichéd at moments such as these to offer thoughts and prayers. But as Christians, we must reflect upon the mass killings that unfold with such regularity in our country. And we must pray: for the victims, for their loved ones, for all who attended to the victims in the immediacy of the shooting, for the first responders who do so much to mitigate the awful effects of these shootings, and for the medical personnel who will labor for many days to save the wounded. We must also enter into the sorrow of those who are most deeply affected by our country’s cripplingly frequent outbursts of lethal gun violence. We must look into our own hearts and examine the ways in which we are culpable or complicit in the gun violence that surrounds us every day.

And then, having looked, we must act. As Christians, we are called to engage in the debates that shape how Americans live and die, especially when they die due to violence or neglect. Yet a probing conversation on issues of gun violence continues to elude us as a nation, and this failure is cause for repentance and for shame. It is entirely reasonable in the wake of mass killings perpetrated by murderers with assault weapons to ask lawmakers to remove such weapons from civilian hands. It is imperative to ask why, as early as this very week, Congress is likely to pass a bill making it easier to buy silencers, a piece of equipment that make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to detect gunfire as shootings are unfolding.

Even as we hold our lawmakers accountable, though, we must acknowledge that a comprehensive solution to gun violence, whether it comes in the form of mass shootings, street violence, domestic violence or suicide, will not simply be a matter of changing laws, but of changing lives. Our country is feasting on anger that fuels rage, alienation and loneliness. From the White House to the halls of Congress to our own towns and perhaps at our own tables, we nurse grudges and resentments rather than cultivating the respect, concern and affection that each of us owes to the other. The leaders who should be speaking to us of reconciliation and the justice that must precede it too often instead stoke flames of division and mistrust. We must, as a nation, embrace prayerful resistance before our worse impulses consume us.

We join with the people of God in fervent prayer that our country will honor those murdered and wounded in Las Vegas by joining in acts of repentance, healing, and public conversation about the gun violence that has ripped us apart, yet again.

On Tuesday, October 3 at 9 a. m. Pacific time, churches across the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada will toll their bells in mourning for the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. Bishops United Against Gun Violence invites congregations across the country to toll their own bells in solidarity at the same time: 9 am Pacific/10 am Mountain/11 am Central/Noon Eastern. The number of times the bells are rung will be based on the number of dead as reported at that time including the perpetrator of the violence. Watch for updates on the Episcopalians Against Gun Violence Facebook page.

Global issues dominate Primates Meeting, as marriage equality still challenges communion

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 2:29pm

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry offers the opening prayers for Nevada during Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral on Oct. 2. Photo: ACNS

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury – England] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is joining most of his fellow Anglican primates – or senior church leaders – in Canterbury this week for a five-day meeting that focuses primarily on global issues of peace and justice, refugees, and environmental concerns. But the issue of marriage equality has taken up a significant portion of the opening two days.

The Scottish Episcopal Church on Oct. 3 agreed to accept certain “consequences” for voting earlier this year to allow same-sex marriage in church.

The primates, at its last gathering in January 2016, called for the same consequences to be applied to the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. They asked that the Episcopal Church would, for a period of three years, “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and … not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity” on Anglican Communion bodies. That action came in response to the 2015 General Convention decision to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and authorize two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).

In a similar move, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church last June voted in favor of allowing gay couples to marry in church. The vote means that the canon law will be changed to remove the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman, which enables gay and lesbian Christians to be married in church. The change in canon law also will stipulate that no member of clergy will be required to solemnize a marriage against their conscience.

Bishop Mark Strange, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said in a statement that the decision “was ours to take as a self-governing province of the Anglican Communion” but that he recognized it has caused “some hurt and anger in parts of the Anglican Communion.”

Strange also recognized that the decision taken at the last Primates Meeting “to exclude our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church from debate on doctrine and from chairing Anglican Communion committees, is a decision that now also pertains to us. We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that love means love.”

He explained that the process in Scotland had included “much prayer, theological debate, open and, at times, very personal testimony and that opportunity had been provided for groups throughout the church to discuss this matter and to pray about it; this included the voice of the youth in the church, the sharing of powerful words and stories from elderly members and hearing representation from those who hold a traditional understanding of marriage, those who see marriage as including same-gender couples and those who have encountered exclusion in declaring their love.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addresses media Oct. 3 during a press conference at the conclusion of the second day of the Primates Meeting. Photo: ACNS

During an Oct. 3 press conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that there “were a lot of expressions of disappointment” with Scotland’s decision, but that Strange had been “careful in expressing his recognition that this was going to lead to consequences in terms of  not being able to play a role in ecumenical or leadership roles in the Anglican Communion…and that was in line with the decisions reached in January 2016.” Welby said that no formal vote was taken by the primates to ask the Scottish Episcopal Church to accept the consequences “as there was no need for one.”

At their January 2016 meeting, a majority of the primates requested action against Episcopal Church, officially using the language of “consequences,” although some have argued that they are in fact “sanctions” with a different identity.

Three months later in April 2016, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Communion’s only official policy-making body, declined to endorse or take any action similar to the primates’ call for three years of so-called “consequences” for the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church’s three ACC members participated fully in the meeting.

Three primates – Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of Rwanda, and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda – are not attending the Primates Meeting because of the developments in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Another three – Archbishop Sturdie Downs of Central America, Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya of Tanzania, and Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo of Myanmar – are missing the meeting through a mixture of practical, health and internal country affairs, according to the Anglican Communion Office.

The primates in January 2016 also asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a task group “to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognizing the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”

The task group held its first meeting in September last year and reported back to the Primates during the first two days of the meeting in Canterbury. Curry is a member of the group.

Issues of human sexuality have dominated many of the Primates Meetings of the last 15 years. Although this gathering has begun by addressing recent provincial actions on marriage equality, the primates are now expected to turn their attention to other pressing global concerns that affect the 165 countries and 39 provinces the primates represent.

Curry has said that he hopes to talk about migration, immigration and refugees at the meeting, his second since becoming presiding bishop in 2015.

“Most of our countries are impacted by people who are fleeing wars and violence and injustices and in many of our countries extraordinary ministries are reaching out to help those who find themselves refugees,” Curry said in a recent video message. “In the Episcopal Church, that is true as well. Even now, young people who we call DREAMers, whose parents brought them here years ago…are frightened and fearful that they might have to leave this country … Refugees are our brothers and sisters because one God created us…We must help those who are our brothers and sisters and find themselves refugees.”

Curry’s message comes against a backdrop of a growing intolerance of refugees in the U.S. and at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has announced he intends to reduce the refugee admissions ceiling for the coming year at 45,000 persons, almost half the previous historic low of 85,000. Meanwhile, on Sept. 24, the Trump administration issued its third travel ban in less than a year aimed at blocking all refugees and travelers from eight mostly Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

As the Canterbury meeting got underway with the tragic news of the shooting in Las Vegas, the primates gathered around Curry in prayer and solidarity, issuing a statement that called the weekend massacre “truly shocking.” The primates also invited Curry to offer the opening prayers during Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral on Oct. 2.

In a video message published last week, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “We will miss those who are not there, miss them very much.”

And of the meeting itself, Welby said: “I am greatly looking forward to the Primates Meeting. It’s an extraordinary feeling to have the leaders of all the provinces gathering together to pray, to encourage one another, to weep with one another, to celebrate with one another.”

Who are the Primates and what is the Primates Meeting?

Primates are the senior archbishops and presiding bishops elected or appointed to lead each of the 39 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are invited to the Primates Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consult on theological, social and international issues.

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting is one of the three instruments of communion, the other two being the Lambeth Conference of bishops and the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policy-making body. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” is recognized as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls the Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates and is president of the ACC.

In some Anglican provinces the primate is called archbishop and/or metropolitan, while in others the term presiding bishop – or as in Scotland, primus – is used.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also invites to the primates meetings the moderators who lead the united ecumenical churches of North India, South India and Pakistan.

In 1978 Archbishop Donald Coggan, the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, established the Primates Meeting as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”

The primates have met in Ely, England, in 1979; Washington, D.C., in 1981; Limuru, Kenya, in 1983; Toronto, Canada, in 1986; Cyprus in 1989; Newcastle, Northern Ireland, in 1991; Cape Town, South Africa, in 1993; Windsor, England, in 1995; Jerusalem in 1997; Oporto, Portugal, in 2000; Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2001; Canterbury, England, in 2002; Gramodo, Brazil, in May 2003; London, England, in October 2003; Newry, Northern Ireland, in February 2005; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007; Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009; Dublin, Ireland, in January 2011; and Canterbury in January 2016.

The provinces and primates of the Anglican Communion are listed here

— Matthew Davies is advertising and web manager for the Episcopal News Service.

Episcopal churches across country toll bells for victims of Las Vegas massacre

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:46am

St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Wall Street will ring the Bell of Hope at noon, joining churches around the country in solidarity with the Diocese of Nevada and remembering those killed in Las Vegas over the weekend. Photo: Trinity Wall Street, via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal churches across the country tolled bells simultaneously Oct. 3 in solidarity with the Diocese of Nevada and in memory of the victims of the mass shooting over the weekend in Las Vegas, which left 60 people dead, including the gunman.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 70 Episcopal bishops, issued the call for a nationwide bell tolling. Responding to Nevada Bishop Dan Edwards’ suggestion, the bells rang at 9 a.m. PT (10 a.m. MT, 11 a.m. CT and noon ET). Bishops United recommended tolling bells 60 times – for the 59 victims as of the most recent count and for the gunman, who killed himself after firing down from a hotel room on an outdoor country music concert.

Churches from New York to California pledged to join in tolling their bells.

Come at noon/St Paul’s Chapel as we ring the Bell of Hope in solidarity with the Diocese of Nevada, remembering those killed in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/ES6ojDGwdx

— Trinity Wall Street (@TrinityWallSt) October 3, 2017

A bell rings for each of the #LasVegasShooting #victims & a #candle is lit in their memory. Our service of lament begins. #Baltimore @EPFNational @iamepiscopalian @TheCrossLobby #episcopal @MomsDemand pic.twitter.com/7l0sjDuHhf

— Episcopal Maryland (@episcomd) October 3, 2017

An interfaith rally was held at Washington National Cathedral to remember the victims “while also urging a national conversation to end gun violence.” The cathedral offered a live video stream of that event on its Facebook page.

Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Budde said the cathedral’s Bourdon bell typically only is sounded at funerals and at national times of mourning.

“We gather in grief over the senseless bloodshed at a shooting last Sunday night in Las Vegas, and we gather with urgency,” Budde said outside the cathedral before the bell tolled 60 times. “We are people who minister to people affected by gun violence year after year. We are exhausted by the fact that this probing conversation on the issue of gun violence continues to elude us. This failure is a cause for repentance and shame.”

The shooting is the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Authorities say 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired down on the crowd from a room on the 32nd floor of nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, sending concertgoers fleeing. In addition to those killed, hundreds were injured. Paddock was found dead along with 23 rifles in his hotel suite, and 19 more firearms were found in his home.

Since the nighttime attack Oct. 1, Episcopal leaders have responded by offering prayers, support and calls to action.

“We are praying for the families and friends of those who have died and for the many people who have been wounded,” Anglican Communion’s primates said in a statement released from Canterbury, England, where they, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, are meeting.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, issued a statement saying “my heart broke once again” after learning of the latest mass shooting, and she cited a General Convention resolution supporting legislation to prevent more massacres.

“May we have the strength to put our words into actions so that the lawmakers who represent us in Washington, D.C., and in state capitols across the land will enact sensible legislation that can prevent guns from falling into the hands of people whose hearts are torn with hatred, violence, and despair,” she said.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence also issued a statement, saying Christians must act and “engage in the debates that shape how Americans live and die, especially when they die due to violence or neglect.”

In Las Vegas, Episcopal clergy members are helping to provide pastoral care for victims and emergency personnel, and the Diocese of Nevada will hold a memorial worship service at 7 p.m. Oct. 3. at Christ Church, the Episcopal church closest to the Las Vegas strip where the shooting happened.

Budde, who is a member of Bishops United, echoed the group’s written statement, saying it is “entirely reasonable” to seek legislative reform in the immediate wake of yet another mass shooting.

“Thoughts and prayers, while important, are insufficient,” she said. “In our tradition, the scriptures tell us that faith without works is dead. Prayers without actions mean little.”

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

 

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