From St. Barnabas Kutztown

[Sent by Pat Brown, St. Barnabas Kutztown]

Our vestry asked that I share the following  with the newSpin community:

A lively discussion during one of our recent Sunday morning worship services carried over into our fellowship hour. The Gospel reading on this particular Sunday was from Matthew 5 and recounts a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that includes the Beatitudes. Our discussion centered on the brutal murder of David Kato, an activist for homosexual rights in Uganda, and the response or lack of response by leaders of the Anglican Church in Uganda. The discussion participants drafted a letter to our Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, expressing our dismay and urging a strong response from our leadership in the Episcopal Church.

We were surprised and heartened to receive a letter in response from the Presiding Bishop along with a copy of the statement which was conveyed to the Anglican Communion during the Primates Meeting in Dublin this past February.

Thanks and God's peace-

*****************

[This is the text of the letter from Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. I have copied the text rather than attach her letter because the jpg of the letter sent to me by the parish was not easy to read. Additionally, statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop, as well as a variety of items regarding the death of David Kato appeared in various editions of the newSpin newsletter over the past six weeks. ––Bill]

To the Congregation:

Thank you for your letter of concern about the situation in Uganda. I, too, grieve the death of David Kato, and the dearth of pastoral concern for the mourners at his funeral. I sense some confusion about roles in your comment about this, "but also by the denial of comfort to Kato's family in their time of need by our church." The Anglican Church of Uganda had responsibility for this funeral, rather than The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church has repeatedly expressed concern about draconian laws relating to homosexuality in Uganda.

The primates of the Anglican Communion, gathered in Dublin last week, also expressed our concern about the death of Mr. Kato, and reminded the Communion that as fellow Anglicans we are called to uphold the dignity of all persons. I enclose a copy of our statement. I have also spoken about this situation, both the murder of Mr. Kato, and the larger issue of criminalizing homosexual behavior –– in particular, at the end of 2009, when this law first began to be considered.

I assure you that The Episcopal Church stands against prejudice toward gay and lesbian persons, against the violence directed toward such persons, and for the availability of pastoral care to all members of Christ's body.

I give thanks for your concern and pray that your ministry may be a blessing to many. I remain

Your Servant in Christ

Katharine Jefferts Schori

 

 


Sudan/Kajo Keji (February 9)...latest news on top of each section

In Our Diocese or our Partner Diocese of Kajo Keji

Christians in northern Sudan flock south ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Cafe] Reuters reports that many Christians who live in northern Sudan are flocking south in anticipation of independence there, but are also driven by fears that the north could become an Islamic state governed by Shariah law. More here.

Election results for Kajo Keji from Bishop Anthony Poggo: The provisional Referendum results for Kajo-Keji County were announced today.  The summary showed that 198 people voted for Unity while 45,892 voters voted for Secession. This represented 98.7 % of all the votes that were casted. There were 102 invalid votes and 85 unmarked votes. Out of 46,454 registered voters, 46,277 voters participated in the plebiscite. This represented 99.6% voter turn-out.

The Archbishop of Sudan casts his vote
... [fron Bishop Anthony] Sunday 9th January marked the first of seven days in the historic self‐determination referendum for the people of Southern Sudan. The Most Rev. Dr.Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Episcopal Archbishop of the Sudan, together with Archbishop Paulino Lukudu of the Roman Catholic Church advanced to Hai Jalaba Junior School polling station to cast their referendum ballots at four o’clock that afternoon. Unsurprisingly, there was heavy media attention ready to capture the two archbishops exercising their democratic right at the polling station. Download the pdf file forwarded by Bishop Anthony for the complete story and pics. Download 01. ABD and ABP vote in Referendum

First Day's voting passes peacefully in Kajo Keji by Stephen Tomor...[ACNS] Read it here.

Sudan's referendum and why the West should care
[WHYY Radio Times Broadcast] with Dr. Randall Fegley. Check it out here.

New Hope's Faith Journey
... A photo story in the Oct-Dec newsletter of Kajo Keji. Download it here.

12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [World Mission Committee] The first batch of gifts to Kajo Keji from the Diocese of Bethlehem for Christmas 2010 is being transferred. More here.

"Bethlehem People, God has Chosen You to Come" to Kajo Keji by Charlie Barebo. Find it here.

In the World

Southern Sudanese celebrate the birth of a new nation...[ENS] Read it here.

Southern Sudan votes to split from the north...
[CNN]

Northern Sudan's protests trigged by long-term economic, political frustrations..
.[Christian Science Monitor] Read more here.

Complete preliminary results show 99% vote to split in Southern Sudan...
[CNN] More here.

Church of Sudan Builds Peace, Serves Returning Refugees During Country’s Transition..
.[Episcopal Relief and Development blog] Read more here.

Analysis: South Sudan secession a risky precedent...[The Florida Times Union] More here.

Some south Sudanese believe independence in Bible...[Associated Press] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan...[Odyssey Network] Find it here.

As South Sudan prepares for independence, old hurts linger...
[Christian Science Monitor] More here.

Exiled Sudanese clergy hope for peaceful return...[Ecumenical News International, Nairobi] Read it here.

In Sudan, provisional referendum results indicate landslide independence vote..
.[ENS]  More here.

Overwhelming vote for Southern Sudan secession ... Southern Sudanese election officials posted early results on Sunday indicating that perhaps more than 95 percent of voters in this regional capital of Juba voted to secede from Sudan. More at the NYTimes.

Notes from Sudan...[Trinity Wall Street] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan Part 4: Lost Boy Abraham Achiek..
.[Odyssey Networks] More here.

Voices of Sudan Part 3 Lost Boy Gabriel Tor...[Odyssey Networks]  More here.

Sudanese Episcopalians rejoice as historic referendum draws to a close... [ENS] More here.

US allies keep close watch on Sudan independence vote...[Christian Century].  Read it here.

Prayer Vigil..
.[Odyssey Network] More here.

Thousands vote in Southern Sudan as violence flares in disputed region
...[CNN] Find it here.

Sudan referendum success in Juba.
..[ENS]. Read it here.

Millions take to the polls in Sudan's historic referendum; clashes in Abyei claim lives...[ENS] More here.

Southern Sudanese, in a Jubilant Mood, Begin to Vote on Secession
...[New York Times] Find it here.

Chicago Episcopalians pray for peace in Sudan.
..[Chicago Tribune] More here.

First day of voting goes off well
...[CNN] Read it here.

In Southern Sudan, the clock ticks toward 'liberation'.
..[CNN] Find it here.

In Sudan, an Election and a Beginning
(by President Barack Obama)...[New York Times] More here.

Praying for Peace in Sudan...
[Trinity Wall Street] Read it here.

Sudan Prayer Vigil.
.. Find it on YouTube

Metro-area South Sudanese refugees take part in historic vote for independence...[Atlanta Journal Constituion] More here.

Roanoke Sudanese make voices heard...[Roanoke Times]. Read it here.

For local Episcopalians, vote in Sudan gets personal...[St. Louis Post Dispatch]. More here.

Sudan: The trek home to vote...[CNN]. Read it here.

Episcopalians, Sudanese partners unite in prayer for a peaceful referendum
...[ENS]. More here.

Sudanese Bishop Joseph Garang speaks about the referendum and international partnerships...[ENS].  Read it here.

Christians Issue Prayer Call for Peace Ahead of Sudan Vote...[Christian Post] More here.

The Anglican Communion rallies in prayer behind Sudan...[ACNS] Read the story here.

Chicago Episcopalians capture spirit of Sudan through video, images, music...[ENS] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan Part 2... [Odyssey Network] More here.

Southern Sudan returnees put a strain on limited resources... [CNN] An influx of people returning home to vote in Southern Sudan is straining communities suffering from lack of food and water in the remote region, aid groups said Wednesday. Read it here.

Sudan's President Opens to South's Succession...[Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Childress] Find it here.

Can Sudan split without falling apart? ... [Time Magazine] Read it here.

Peaceful vote on Sudan appears more likely ... [NYTimes, Jan. 2, Jeffrey Gettleman] Read it here.

George Clooney 'antigenocide Papparazzi': Watching Sudan ... [Time Magazine] Read it here.

Prayer vigil for the people of Sudan [Trib-local, Libertyville] More here.

Voices of Sudan [Odyssey Network] More here.

Pace: Southern Sudan secession? [Richmond Times Dispatch] More here.

Peace hovers in Sudan, but most soldiers stay armed ... [NYTimes, Josh Kron] With little more than a week to go before a vote on independence for southern Sudan, virtually none of the soldiers have put down their weapons and fully rejoined civilian life. More here.

Trinty, Wall Street's Praying for Peace resource page. Find it here.

Episcopal Relief and Development's Power of Partnerships. More here.

Ballots delivered for Sudan independence vote [CNN]...Each ballot carries two pictures: One hand signifies independence; two hands, a unified Sudan. More here.

Sudan's president warns of tighter Islamic law [CNN]...Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has warned that he will tighten the application of Islamic law, or sharia, in northern Sudan if southern Sudan votes for independence next month, the Sudan News Agency reported. More here.

Praying with and for the people of Sudan [ACNS]...From the Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon. More here.

New CD features Sudanese voices from the Diocese of Renk...[From Rebecca Wilson, Diocese of Chicago] A newly-released musical composition that captures the spirit of the people on the fault line in Sudan’s bloody civil conflict has its roots in the relationship between the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the Sudanese Diocese of Renk.

In Voices of Faith, Chicago composer Chris Beckstrom, has woven song, percussion and handclapping recorded in Sudan by members of the Chicago diocese’s Renk Media Team into an original 12-track audio CD available for $20 through Amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Diocese of Renk.

Sudanese summit strengthens partners in ministry...[ENS] Here.

Dreams of life in Southern Sudan clash with reality ... [NPR] Here.

Act now to prevent war in Sudan ... [CNN, George Clooney and John Prendergast] Here.

African poverty is falling ... much faster than you think. More here. [VoxEU, H/T John B. Chilton at Episcopal Café]

Attention-Grabber for Sudan's cause ... [NYTimes] John Prendergast has focused the attention of movie stars and President Obama. But will that be enough to head off another bloodbath? More here.

Bishop Katharine discusses discusses Sudan's January referendum in new video ... “I ask for your action on behalf of the people of Sudan,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori notes in a new video posted on the Episcopal Church’s Sudan Resource page. where you will also find prayer resources and more on Sudan. A Sudanese-wide referendum is slated for January 9, 2011 which, if successful, will establish a separate Southern Sudan with full rights to self-determination.

Sudan is church's focus as vote on partition draws near ... [Episcopal Cafe, Nick Knisely] As part of the 2005 Peace agreement signed by Sudanese in the northern and southern parts of country, a binding vote on partition will be taken in early January that could split the country into two parts, its Muslim dominated north and its Christian dominated south. More here.

George Clooney and John Prendergast on Sudan's Peace Process ...  [The Atlantic Wire] Clooney and Prendergast then put forward a series of proposals to help lay the foundation for peace. Read Not too late to stop another war in Sudan.


Moravian Church, Northern Province Enters Full Communion With Episcopal Church

[Editor's note: The following release was provided by Mike Riess, Executive Director of the Interprovincial Board of Communications for the Moravian Church in North America. I took the photo and you can see more from the vote here]

By Mike Riess

JUNE 18, 2010, BETHLEHEM, PA. – Today, delegates of the Moravian Church, Northern Province voted to bring their Province into a relationship of full communion with the Episcopal Church.  The proposal, brought to the floor of the Northern Province’s 2010 Synod held at Moravian College in Bethlehem this week, was approved by voice vote.

BishopMiller What a great and glorious day,” said Steven Miller, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee and co-chair of the dialogue.  “In a world that wants to divide us more and more, we are called to unity.  We look forward to new and deeper relationships across our churches as we continue to work together to witness the true unity of God through the Church of Jesus Christ.”

This is an important day in the life of our churches,” said David L. Wickmann, president, Moravian Church, Northern Province. “This communion means our Church has the opportunity to engage with one of our historic partners in a more complete and meaningful way.”

The communion of the Moravian Church, Northern Province and the Episcopal Church brings a greater unity to the Christian church.  “We seek this relationship of full communion so that our mission as Christ’s church will be more effectively fulfilled and each of our denominations might be more complete because of the spiritual treasures of the other,” reads Finding Our Delight in the Lord: A Proposal for Full Communion Between the Episcopal Church; the Moravian Church Northern Province; and the Moravian Church, Southern Province. “We do this for the sake of the world so that the world may believe.”

In pursuing full communion with another church, both denominations remain faithful to Christ’s will for his church.  On the night before he died, our Lord Jesus prayed, “…that they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21 NRSV)

Full communion is not a merger. There will still be differences between the denominations, just as there are differences in individual churches, provinces and dioceses of any denomination.  Current differences in structure, doctrine, liturgy and positions on social and ethical issues may require each church to speak for itself at times.

This communion maintains what makes each denomination special or unique to its members; it is about the unity of Christ’s church, not the uniformity of practice. The two will mutually recognize and respect each other as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church, which affirms its faith through the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.

In addition to the unity of Christ’s church, full communion provides for the sharing of ministry.  With this agreement, ordained clergy in each denomination will be able to serve in the other, allowing for the orderly interchange of ordained ministers, joint worship and the celebration of Holy Communion.

On a practical level, the full communion provides opportunities to share resources and mission work.  Full communion agreements bring mutual cooperation and laboring together in mission work, church planting, clergy education, disaster relief and other areas of common endeavors.  The communion also offers opportunities to enhance the life and ministry of local congregations.

The Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Episcopal Church also has full communion with the ELCA.  This is the first time three denominations have come to full communion agreements on their own.

The full communion is the result of many years of work between the two churches.  It was first proposed in 1999.  Since then, ecumenical representatives from both denominations worked to reach the accord.  The 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting July 8-17, 2009, adopted Finding Our Delight in the Lord unanimously.  Following the Northern Province Synod this week, the proposal is expected to be taken up by the Moravian Church-Southern Province at their Synod in September.

The Moravian Church, which celebrated its 550th anniversary in 2007, is one of the oldest Protestant denominations, dating back to 1457 in Europe and first coming to America in 1735. Moravians have a strong tradition of ecumenical work and are best known for their missionary work and rich musical heritage. The Moravian Church in North America is comprised of the Northern and Southern Provinces. The Northern Province has around 23,000 members in 93 congregations in 13 states in the U.S. and two Canadian provinces. The Southern Province includes nearly 17,000 members in 58 congregations, which are located primarily throughout the Southeast. The worldwide Moravian Church consists of 19 provinces with nearly 795,000 members, half of which live in Africa.  Moravian Church contact: Mike Riess, mike@mcnp.org


The Presiding Bishop –– An Appreciation and Reminders for Parish Leaders

By Bishop Paul Marshall

[During her visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was attentive, appreciative, and evocative. She gave feedback. She was encouraging. She could, when necessary change. She maintained a non-anxious presence and she stayed connected. –– The Bishop's column below will appear in the December issue of Diocesan Life.]

November was a banner month for our diocese. For the first time in more than two decades we were honored by a visit from the chief pastor of The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop.

I designed the visit as carefully as I could to insure that she saw our best efforts, our most innovative efforts, along with our challenges and deficits. Bishop Jack and I also individually spent private car time with her so that she would know what the episcopate is like in this diocese.

Continue reading "The Presiding Bishop –– An Appreciation and Reminders for Parish Leaders" »


Meet Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in Bethlehem, Lebanon or Wilkes-Barre

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will make her first visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem next week. There will be several opportunities to hear her speak and to dialogue with her.

Featured events during her visit will be Evensong at 6:00 p.m., during which she will preach, followed by a reception and open forum. These will take place on

Monday, November 9, at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (321 Wyandotte Street)

Tuesday, November 10, at St. Luke's Church in Lebanon (22 South Sixth Street)

Wednesday, November 11, at St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre (35 South Franklin Street)

The public and the media are invited to the events above.

Additionally, Jefferts Schori will visit local ministries on Tuesday morning and meet with Moravians at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem, on Wednesday morning. Diocesan youth have been invited to meet with her at St. Stephen's, Wilkes-Barre, on Wednesday afternoon. Finally, she will meet with the clergy of the Diocese of Bethlehem on Thursday morning at Good Shepherd, Scranton.

The news release below was sent to media on Monday, Nov. 2.

Download PB Visit.NR.doc


Visit of Presiding Bishop to the Diocese of Bethlehem

This is an updated tentative schedule for the visit of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the Diocese of Bethlehem, Nov. 9-12. Please check back for further updates.

Monday, November 9
6:00 pm – Evensong, Sermon, Cathedral Bethlehem

7:15 pm – Reception (open forum)


Tuesday, November 10

Morning – Visit local ministries
6:00 pm – Evensong, Sermon, St. Luke’s Lebanon
7:15 pm – Reception (open forum)

Wednesday, November 11
9:00 am-1:30 pm - Visit with Moravians at Moravian Seminary
6:00 pm – Evensong at St. Stephen’s Wilkes-Barre
7:15 pm – Reception (open forum)

Thursday, November 12
8:30 am – Clergy Day, Good Shepherd Scranton


World Mission Draft Report

Posted by Kat Lehman

Draft report encourages Episcopalians to re-evaluate mission

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church Center staff issued a 27-page draft report on world mission June 26 in response to two questions posed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

• What is the primary motivation for global mission?
• How do we practice global mission strategically in the 21st century?

"They are questions that continue to engage us," said Jefferts Schori in an interview when asked if the draft report adequately answered the questions. "This is a good beginning and meant to stimulate greater discussion."

The draft report includes a brief history of Episcopal global mission, estimated 2008 international mission expenditure figures ($22.9 million), the 2009 projected budget for international mission and geographic breakdowns of where the money is spent.

The $24 million projected 2009 budget for Episcopal International Mission, which includes all mission work outside the United State, is broken down by area: Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) (60.6 percent), Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) (33.3 percent) and United Thank Offering (6.1 percent).

To read the whole story, go to Episcopal Life Online here.


"Horrified" at murder

[From NewsLine and Office of Public Affairs, The Episcopal Church] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori expressed her horror and calls for prayers on the murder of Dr. George Tiller while he was in his church in Wichita, Kansas. The following is the statement from the Presiding Bishop: I am horrified to learn of the murder of Dr. Tiller, made even more painful for occurring in a place of worship and sanctuary.  I pray for him and for his family, that all may know they are held in the palm of God's hand.  I also pray for those who believe that violence is ever the answer to disputes or differences, that they, too, may be healed. Available on News & Notices: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/newsline_108845_ENG_HTM.htm


Religion in the Public Square

National Press Club address
Washington, DC 16 December 2008
Religion in the Public Square 
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church

            Well, is there anxiety in this town, especially as the machinery of government shifts gears?  I’ll warrant that there will continue to be a lot of anxiety until the new administration settles in, at least several months from now.  Who’s going to sit in which seat at the table?  Who’s going to be – or feel – excluded?  What last-minute actions will the outgoing administration make?
            Perhaps the first role of religion in such times is to be a messenger, like one of those biblical angels, who starts out by saying, “fear not.”  Don’t be afraid; this whole thing is a lot bigger than you are.  Yes, change is coming, and it will drive some people crazy, and at the same time not go far enough for others.  In more secular language, we might say, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  And more of it is small stuff than you might expect.  At the same time, the religious voice will remind you that how you deal with the small stuff does not affect you alone – your actions may have consequences beyond your wildest imagining.

Continue reading "Religion in the Public Square" »