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Bishop Samuel Peni chosen as next archbishop of Western Equatoria in South Sudan

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:21pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Bishop of Nzara, Samuel Peni, has been elected Bishop of Yambio and Archbishop of the Church of South Sudan’s Internal Province of Western Equatoria. He will be installed into both new roles on March 10 to succeed Archbishop Peter Munde Yacob, who was also the provincial dean. Archbishop Peter died in October last year after a short illness.

Read the entire article here.

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Environment Network calls on Anglicans around the world to use less plastic

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:19pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Communion’s Environment Network (ACEN) is encouraging Anglicans to reduce their use of plastic in Lent. Organizers hope that those taking part in the “plastic fast” will learn to use less plastic in the longer term in order to protect the earth’s environment. The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Canon Rachel Mash, said that that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. “Plastic is already entering into our drinking water”, she said. “Plastic clogs our rivers, leaches into our soil and is one of the greatest challenges the planet faces.”

Read the entire article here.

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Cuban church celebrates 110 years, its final synod before Episcopal Church reintegration

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:04pm

Episcopal Church of Cuba clergy and guests gather with Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana following the March 3 closing Eucharist of the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Havana, Cuba] The Episcopal Church of Cuba recently celebrated its 110-year history during its final synod as an autonomous diocese in anticipation of its official reintegration with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 2020.

“For 50 years the Episcopal Church has been isolated,” said Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, at the close of the Feb. 28- March 3 General Synod held at Holy Trinity Cathedral. Reintegration, she said, “is a way to be part of a big family.”

Delgado’s strong leadership drove the reintegration, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada, who serves as chair of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. The council has overseen the Cuban church since its separation from The Episcopal Church in the late 1960s.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana, Cuba, following the opening Eucharist of the 110th General Synod on Feb. 28. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“I mean every word when I say, she’s a visionary, she’s a hard worker,” said Hiltz, in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “She will do anything to promote the interest, wellbeing and resource capacity to support the ministry of this church. She’s steadfast, she perseveres, and it’s not always been easy for her.

“Not everybody was thrilled with the idea of returning to The Episcopal Church, but she just plodded along consistently, she’s worked with the clergy, the laity. I watched her prepare for the special synod last year to decide what province they would belong to, and just the careful way she made sure there was conversation all the way across the church here in Cuba. They came into the synod with the decision and that’s a huge credit to her style, organized and focused, spiritually-centered leadership.”

The Diocese of Cuba is set to join Province II, which includes dioceses from New York and New Jersey in the United States, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

The Cuban church’s reintegration with The Episcopal Church was one of many topics discussed during the synod, which brought together clergy and laity from across the island.

“We are indeed so happy to welcome the Church in Cuba back into The Episcopal Church; there is so much that we can learn from their creative approach to ministry and mission,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops on July 10, 2018, voted unanimously to readmit the Cuban church as a diocese with the House Deputies concurring. The actions of the 79th General Convention accelerated the reintegration process first set in motion four years ago.

Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio leads the recessional following the Feb. 28 Eucharist opening the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

In March 2015, two months after the United States and Cuba agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations following a 54-year breach, the Episcopal Church of Cuba’s synod voted 39 to 33 in favor of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church. That summer, the 78th General Convention called for closer relations with the Cuban church and a lifting of the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

The Rev. John Kafwanka, the Anglican Communion’s director for mission, gave a presentation about the importance of training Christians for ministry in their everyday lives. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its origins back to an Anglican presence that began on the island in 1871. In 1901, it became a missionary district of The Episcopal Church. The two churches separated in the 1960s, after Fidel Castro seized power following the 1959 Cuban Revolution and diplomatic relations between the two countries disintegrated. The Episcopal Church of Cuba has functioned as an autonomous diocese of the Anglican Communion under the authority of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba since the separation in 1967. The primates of the Anglican churches of Canada and the West Indies and The Episcopal Church chair the Metropolitan Council.

The synod marked the final time Hiltz, who has served as the chair of the Metropolitan Council for 12 years and is set to retire later this year, would attend.

“It’s a bit emotional for me this synod, it is my last synod here as the primate of Canada and the chair of the Metropolitan Council,” he said.

“It’s mixed emotions, great joy that things have come thus far. I would have felt really awkward ending my time as the chair of the Metropolitan Council if things hadn’t been as far along in terms of the reintegration,” said Hiltz. “It’s been just really wonderful to watch that process unfold since 2015. I’m really happy to see it coming to fruition and to think that next year’s synod, their presiding bishop will be here because they have sometimes spoken of me as their primate. And I guess for all intents and purposes I have been.”

Pending alignment of the Cuban and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church’s constitutions and canons and sign off from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, next March, the Diocese of Cuba will hold its first convention along with a celebration and visit from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

The Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church, gave a presentation on March 2 about next steps in the process of reintegration during the 110th General Synod. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“We are deeply thankful to Archbishop Hiltz, to the Metropolitan Council (of Cuba) and the Anglican Church of Canada for their years of faithful partnership and support to the church in Cuba,” said Robertson.

Delgado was installed in November 2010. Prior to that, Bishop Miguel Tamayo of the Anglican Church of Uruguay served the church as an interim bishop for six years, splitting his time between Montevideo and Havana. Bishops from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have also served in that role, both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are Episcopal Church dioceses in Province IX.

On Feb. 27, The Episcopal Church announced a campaign to raise pension funds for retired and active clergy. The average priest’s salary in Cuba is $55 per month; the Cuban government doesn’t recognize religious employment, rendering clergy ineligible for state pensions or social security. Over the last 50 years, clergy have had to forgo pensions. The establishment of a pension system provides some security to clergy who can now rely on the church into old age, said Delgado.

The Cuban church has 23 clergy members serving 10,000 Episcopalians in 46 congregations and missions across the island. At the time of the official announcement, the Episcopal Church already had raised more than half of the targeted, one-time amount of $800,000. The money, to be managed by the Church Pension Fund, makes up for the absence of contributions during the separation and addresses an injustice.

“This is part of the work of reconciliation, bringing us together across historic divides. This is not just fundraising; it’s following Jesus and finding our way back to each other,” said Curry, in a press release.

During the church’s February Executive Council meeting, Curry referred to the pensions campaign and the Church of Cuba’s return to The Episcopal Church as an act of “reconciliation no matter what our governments do.” The Obama administration attempted to open relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments; before President Donald Trump’s election, travel restrictions imposed on American citizens were relaxed. In 2017, Trump restored the restrictions.

-Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service.

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Anglicans welcome International Women’s Day campaign theme of gender balance

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:56pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group has issued a statement in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8, welcoming its theme of gender balance.

“Gender balance is essential for all communities to thrive,” the statement says. “The Anglican Communion is no exception.” The subtitle for this year’s celebration is #BalanceforBetter, and it has been designed to promote gender balance across all of life, including boardrooms, government, media, employment, wealth distribution and sports coverage.

Read the full article here.

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Police recover skull of ‘The Crusader’ stolen from Dublin church

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:53pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The police service in the Republic of Ireland has recovered the mummified head of The Crusader, which had been stolen from the crypt of a Dublin church last month. The head, along with another skull, were taken from the crypt of St Michan’s Church in Dublin over the weekend of Feb. 23 to 25. This week a police spokesperson said that “the items were recovered as a result of information that came into the possession of the investigating [police].”

Read the full article here.

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Tributes paid following death of former Archbishop of York John Habgood

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of York John Sentamu has led tributes to one of his predecessors, Lord John Habgood, who died March 6. He was 91. The scientist and theologian – he attained a double first in natural sciences at Cambridge University – was serving as bishop of Durham when he was appointed archbishop of York in 1983. He held the post until his retirement in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords as a Crossbench (independent) Peer in his own right. He had previously been a member as bishop of Durham and archbishop of York.

Read the full article here.

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Home sought for buffalo hide symbolizing church’s commitment to indigenous ministries

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 1:46pm

[Episcopal News Service] The buffalo hide once on display at the Episcopal Church Center in New York is an imposing artifact, expansive enough to encompass native culture, artistic symbolism, bonds of faith, 400 years of American history and a decade-old connection between a presiding bishop and a Hawaiian Episcopal leader.

The hide also is in need of a new home, displaced by construction to accommodate a new tenant in part of the Episcopal Church Center.

“The concern is that it not end up in a place where it would [be] forgotten,” said the Rev. Brad Hauff, The Episcopal Church’s missioner for indigenous ministries. He’s “pursuing a number of possibilities” for relocating the painted buffalo hide.

That search for a new home comes as Episcopalians mourn the January death of the Rev. Malcolm Chun, the native Hawaiian who offered the hide as a gift in then-Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2008, when Chun was secretary general of the Anglican Indigenous Network. Chun, whose funeral was Feb. 23, saw the hide as a symbol of the early English settlers’ colonial-era commitment to bringing Christianity to America’s native tribes, the Rev. Robert Two Bulls Jr. told Episcopal News Service.

“Malcolm … was really just a big supporter of the Jamestown Covenant,” said Two Bulls, who serves the Episcopal Church in Minnesota as missioner for the Department of Indian Work and who also was the artist who painted the buffalo hide at Chun’s request.

This buffalo hide was painted by the Rev. Two Bulls Jr. to replicate the design of Powhatan’s Mantel, a 400-year-old relic made from deer skins and shell beadwork. Photo: Geoffrey Smith

Chun’s vision was to replicate Powhatan’s Mantle, said to have belonged to the chief who first welcomed the Jamestown settlers in 1607 in what today is Virginia. “I think this was his way of still keeping that connection alive,” Two Bulls said.

The first Jamestown Covenant was a double-edged sword. For more than two centuries, America’s native peoples suffered a prolonged genocide at the hands of British colonists and their descendants, who saw the American Indians as “savages.” But those colonists also brought with them a mandate from King James I to preach the Christian Gospel to all they encountered in this “new world.”

“Thus the Anglican commitment to preach and plant the true word of God among the American Indians was firmly established with the first permanent English settlement in America,” Owanah Anderson wrote in her 1988 book “Jamestown Commitment.” Anderson, who served as the church’s missioner for Native American and indigenous ministries, noted the most prominent early convert was Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahantas, who was baptized while “being held hostage aboard an English ship at anchor in the James river.”

The church’s commitment was renewed nearly 400 years later with the singing of the New Jamestown Covenant in 1997, launching The Episcopal Church on a Decade of Remembrance, Recognition and Reconciliation. Jefferts Schori participated in a 2007 procession and Eucharist at the Jamestown historic site marking the start of a second decade affirming the covenant.

The original Powhatan’s Mantle is on display at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in England. Although it once was thought to be a cloak, it more likely was a wall hanging, according to the museum.

It was made from four deer hides sewn together and decorated with white shell beadwork depicting a human figure flanked by two animals, likely a deer and a mountain lion or wolf. The more than 30 beaded circles may represent settlements and tribes, the museum says. Powhatan may have given it as a gift for King James I, according to one theory. It later ended up in possession of the 17th century Englishman whose collection became the founding collection of the museum.

One of Tradescant's most famous additions to the founding collection was Powhatan's Mantle http://t.co/yM43ZJXvPk pic.twitter.com/nB0u6gkKBd

— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) August 4, 2015

Here is a close-up of the shell beading on our #ObjectoftheMonth, Powhatan's Mantle, on display in our new Ashmolean Story gallery. Once thought to have been a cloak, it is now considered more likely that it was a wall hanging https://t.co/1mGhmqJ6KX pic.twitter.com/62Jcsr2bJm

— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) June 6, 2018

Clearly, the buffalo hide at the Episcopal Church Center is not Powhatan’s Mantle, but that was Chun’s inspiration when preparing this gift for Jefferts Schori.

Chun, born in 1954 in Honolulu, was an indigenous studies scholar with degrees from colleges in Hawaii, New Zealand and Canada, and he wrote several books and articles about native Hawaiian culture, beliefs and practices. One of his projects was “Na ‘Euanelio Hemolele,” described by the Diocese of Hawaii as “a lectionary-size book containing the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the Hawaiian-language, complete with diacritical marks.”

He was ordained a deacon in 2011 and a priest in 2012, but his involvement in the church’s indigenous ministries predated his ordination and included service on the Council on Indigenous Ministry, the Indigenous Theological Training Institute Board and the Anglican Indigenous Network.

Chun died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2019, at age 64. His funeral was held the following month at Cathedral of St. Andrew, where he had been named an honorary canon in 2018.

“I counted Malcolm as a friend and a teacher,” Hawaii Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick said in a message to his diocese. “His service to the Cathedral, to the Diocese, to the Church, and to me will be warmly remembered.”

Two Bulls, a Lakota originally from Red Shirt, South Dakota, was serving in the Diocese of Los Angeles more than a decade ago when he first met Chun, likely on one of Chun’s trips to Southern California on behalf of the Anglican Indigenous Network.

The Rev. Malcolm Chun, seen in a Diocese of Hawaii video about the church’s history in Hawaii, was secretary general of the Anglican Indigenous Network when he gave the buffalo hide to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2008.

“He was just a great guy once you got to know him,” said Two Bulls, who recalled talking to Chun by phone a week before he died. “We were making plans to do some other work,” Two Bulls said, including producing a new issue of the Indigenous Theological Training Journal.

Their partnership on the buffalo hide began when Chun acquired it from a “purveyor of such products” and asked Two Bulls to paint it, using Powhatan’s Mantle as his model. Two Bulls conducted some research on the original, including by contacting the museum. While aiming to stay true to the spirit of the original, he “took a little bit of artistic liberty,” such as his addition of color and placing a cross on the chest of the person depicted at the center of the hide.

The hide, stretched out and tethered to the edges of a wooden frame, was presented to Jefferts Schori at a time when she, as presiding bishop, had been in discussion with Chun and others with the Anglican Indigenous Network about maintaining the church’s commitment to indigenous ministry, according to an Anglican Communion News Service article from 2008.

Jefferts Schori, in an email to ENS, praised Two Bulls’ art as “always striking,” and she recalled his buffalo hide painting as “a powerful piece.”

“It would be a gift to many if it were more widely seen,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t get lost.”

A hardware store is moving into the space where the hide previously was on display at the Episcopal Church Center. Episcopal Church’s Chief Operating Officer Geoffrey Smith asked Hauff to look into finding an appropriate new home for it, and Hauff said the search continues.

Two Bulls noted the piece is rather large, which could limit Hauff’s options, but he suggested a diocese like Oklahoma that has a vibrant indigenous ministry – or Virginia, given the history of Powhatan’s Mantle.

“It is a teaching tool, so having it in a place where it can be viewed easily/widely would be first and foremost the main criteria for finding a place to house it,” Two Bulls told Hauff recently by email. “I am pretty sure that this would be what Malcolm would want.”

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

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