Category Archives: Anglican Communion

St. Paul’s youth journey to Dominican Republic deeply affecting

group shot pasluz 3rd gradeAfter nearly two years of discernment and planning, four St. Paul’s high school youth (all seniors) and three leaders boarded a plane on February 12 to embark on pilgrimage to Dominican Republic. There they volunteered with Outreach 360 in Montecristi near the northwest Haitian border. Youth included Ally Collins, Cedric Hipkins, Markis Larrivee and Joanna Brown. Leaders were Myrna Koonce, Hugh Savage and Macauley Lord. The group returned on February 21, changed and moved. Their experience was, by turns, challenging, absorbing, confusing, rewarding and joyful. Here are some highlights:

  • Awakening to dozens of roosters crowing and many motor scooters (“motos”) heading to school or work
  • Standing in front of groups of schoolchildren and chanting, “Wa-wa-wa-what’s the weather, what’s– what’s the weather?”
  • Watching our planning ideas take shape as children of all ages eagerly volunteered to engage in activities designed to help them speak English
  • Playing chasing and ball games with children during recess at tiny Pasluz Escuela
  • Playing “Papa Caliente” (hot potato) with the fifth and sixth graders at an even smaller school in Laguna Verde
  • Holding our own prayer service each morning on the rooftop of our Outreach 360 building in Barrio Salomon Jorge, Montecristi
  • Singing, drumming and dancing merengue with our new friends from Berkley High School in Michigan
  • Answering Spanish/Dominican trivia questions before eating rice, beans, meat, plantain and tropical fruits for lunch and dinner
  • Hiking up El Morro, the local mountain, to watch the sunrise
  • Giving and receiving friendly “holas” everywhere we walked in the town
  • Buying fresh juices from the local “juice lady”
  • Touring the salt flats where salt is harvested solely by hand
  • Visiting the crowded twice-weekly market in Dajabon, where Haitians cross the border to trade with Dominicans

The youth and their parents and leaders worked hard to raise funds for this trip by offering several events, food and services to their fellow parishioners. In thanksgiving, the youth will offer reflections at an upcoming all-parish worship service, and a Dominican dinner for the parish, cooked by the journeyers. We are so grateful to have such an active and inquiring group of teens among us, and we wish them the best as they leave for college next year.

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Mainer find common threads of faith at national workshop

by Elizabeth Barker Ring
Diocesan Ecumenical Officer

Last week I attended the National Workshop on Christian Unity and Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers Annual Meeting. This year we worked with both our desire for visible unity as Christians and our collegial relationships with other religions.

Our Ecumenical work centers on making our Christian unity visible through our relationships with other denominations. We are already in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church in North America, The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, India. We are in a time of Interim Eucharistic Sharing with the United Methodist Church. We have formal dialogues with the Presbyterian Church USA, and the Roman Catholic Church. We also are in conversation with members of the eastern Orthodox Churches.

We are active members of the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Churches Uniting in Christ, and Christian Churches Together, and many local councils of churches.

Our conversations with other religions are centered on finding our common values and the places where we can stand side by side in support of our shared understandings of justice and living faithfully. All partners in these conversations are clear that we are not about converting each other, but about finding issues and occasions on which we can witness together as people of faith.

This most recent National Workshop on Christian Unity and Annual Meeting of the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers included keynote presentations, Bible study, and workshops to help us move deeper into both our ecumenical and our interfaith relationships.

The four days were woven together with wonderful and diverse worship experiences. Joyous opening worship was held at an AME Zion church. Morning prayers featured evangelical music, Taizé liturgy, and guided silent prayer. On Tuesday evening, we celebrated Communion at St. Peters Roman Catholic Church; on Wednesday evening, we celebrated Communion at St. Peters Episcopal Church. Each service used the same music and the parallel shape of the liturgies was very clear. This intentional example of what we share was powerful.

Sandra Keating started our program time off with a presentation on Nostra Aetate and, in particular insights from the Catholic-Muslim dialogue. It is important to note that our credibility as Christians is compromised by our lack of visible unity. Muslim concern about our disunity goes back to the 6th and 7th centuries and our common search for truth and for God. The text of Nostra Aetate is found here.

Amy-Jill Levine led the morning bible studies, guiding us through the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son using the lens of historical context of Second Temple Judaism and the wider cultural/political climate of the first century. How these stories would have been heard by the people of those times is quite different from how we most often use them as allegories today, which takes a lot of the punch out of them. Her insights prodded us to look more closely at what it means to live as Christians today and to look at the layers that we have added over the centuries as we talked about making our Christian unity visible and living into the risky, gritty business of being disciples of Christ. Levine explores these three parables in the first chapter of her book, Short Stories by Jesus.

We were honored by the presence of two prominent Imams, Abdul Malik Mujahid, Board Chair of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions, and Abdullah Antepli, faculty member at Duke Divinity School.

Mujahid spoke about the connection of war-terror-hate, the statistics that never make it into the press, and the importance of thought and communication. His skepticism is that interfaith actions are nice people doing nice things and going nowhere. He was clear that we need to be more business like and have goals. He recommends organizing a thinking retreat of local interfaith leaders to set an agenda and goals, and adopt a resolution to push back the rising tide of hate, anger, and fear. They anticipate 10,000 people at the 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake City; 5000 are already registered. Can Maine be there?

Antepli was Duke Universitys Muslim Chaplain at the time of the controversy about the Muslim Call to Worship using the chapel bells, an idea which he did not support. His recounting of the threats to his family, the rancor across the community, and the overwhelming unpleasantness was stunning. He stressed the importance of getting to know each other because God, having created our differences, commands us to know each other. This gentle mans presentation was one of the most important of the four days.

During our Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers meetings, we heard from Ellen Wondra about The Church: Towards a Common Vision, the new document that grows from Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry. She outlined the points of convergence of our understanding of Church that we have achieved in the years between 1982 and 2013 and the areas in which there is still work to do. The complete document can be downloaded here. It is a wonderful resource for study groups and the churchesresponses will be used to help us move further forward.

Together with our colleagues in United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training we heard from Tex Sample about the challenges of poverty and the implications for faith communities to respond with action and advocacy working toward tangible justice.

We had a chance to be in conversation with Margaret Rose, Presiding Bishops Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations and her colleague Richard Mammana. Richard is a wonderful addition to the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations and will be focussing his time on the Dialogues. Our membership on the Dialogue with the United Methodist Church will be including several new members, with gratitude to the retiring members and the important work they have done to bring us to where we are now. The first three resource documents for dioceses and congregations are available at edeio.org/resources: Make Us One with Christ, A Theological Foundation for Full Communion, and Guidelines for Interim Eucharistic Sharing. The newest document, That They May Be One? is available from Amazon, and we hope will be available as a download soon.

Those of us from New England dioceses hope to hare with our bishops, and the bishop of the ELCA Synod, that we join the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign as a group. [Ed. Note: Bishop Lane gathered with 22 Maine faith leaders at USM on April 7 to Stand Shoulder to Shoulder against hate and violence in the name of religion.] This is a very tangible way to support our Muslim, and Jewish, sisters and brothers. This was part of the conversation about being the church in troubled times. The exponential benefits of taking this step together, we believe, would be significant. The work that Shoulder to Shoulder is doing is already making a positive difference in attitudes and actions.  www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org/.

If you would like to know more about any of these topics or what resources are available to introduce them to your congregation, please be in touch at bethbarker24@gmail.com.

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Maine eyewitness to Gaza

by Maurine and the Rev. Robert Tobin
St. Brendan’s, Deer Isle

[Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, was the recipient of this year’s Diocese of Maine Millennium Development Goal funding . The annual donation, which represents 0.07% of diocesan annual income, totalled $13,000. In 2013, the hospital received one-half of the MDG funding with the balance going to support the ministries of St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad. Both ministries serve all people regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity. Maurine and Bob welcome the opportunity to share what they have observed and learned in Gaza with Maine congregations. Email Maurine at mmtobin38@gmail.com to set a date.]

IMG_1381

Maurine Tobin with Al Ahli Arab Hospital Director Suhaila Tarazi.

Having viewed countless reports, photos and videos, we felt prepared for what we would see on our visit to Gaza in early December 2014.   But the reality was overwhelming.  No video can capture the scope of the destruction, block upon block of Israeli-demolished apartment buildings, bullet sprayed shops and homes, children playing in rubble, men searching for reusable stones.

Arriving days after Gaza had been flooded by torrential rains, we were met by Suhaila Tarazi, Director of Al Ahli Arab Hospital, and taken on a “tour” of northern Gaza, starting with Beit Hanoun, a village near the checkpoint which had long since lost its citrus groves to an Israeli-created “no man’s land” and had struggled to survive by bringing light industry to the area, now bombed, adding thousands to the pre-war unemployment rate of over 50%.

Thinking we had seen the worst, we were overcome by Shujiya, on the edge of old Gaza City, a neighborhood of native Gazans, unlike the 2/3’s of citizens who are refugees from 1948. We were shocked to see people living among the debris – blankets over gaping holes attesting to habitation for some of the 250,000 now homeless, though they are luckier than the more than 2100 killed, including 500 children.  We talked with a family living in a sort of cave created by the fallen four floors of their apartment building, interrupting the father’s lunch, bits of canned meat and bread distributed to the 80% of Gazans dependent on international aid.  His wife and son were not eating.

As we later learned from the pediatrician at Al Ahli, children under 18 make up 54% of the population of Gaza, and 70% of

A young family makes a meal in the ruins of their home.

A young family makes a meal in the ruins of their home.

all children in Gaza are anemic and malnourished, 25% developmentally delayed as a result. Post-traumatic stress disorder is almost universal among children who have experienced three devastating wars in the past 6 years.

After viewing the lovely waterfront where people seek some respite, we drove alongside the Beach Camp, one of the densest refugee camps in the world, from which raw sewage flows to the sea.  We passed a bombed out mosque in an untouched area, obviously one of the 73 mosques targeted for destruction.

The next day, we visited Al Ahli  to experience the ongoing miraculously good work that small hospital does.  Dr. Maher recounted the trauma of the 51 day assault – surgeons operating round the clock, countless shrapnel and burn victims, and the horrifying puzzle of what new weapon the Israelis were testing in this war, not the white phosphorous of the previous attack, but something that caused the internal organs to become toxic after shrapnel had been surgically removed, forcing the surgeons to repeat surgeries to stop the infections if they were able to do so.  We visited the pediatric unit, where mothers receive nutritional advice while children receive medical care; the burn unit where a wide-eyed little boy stood waist deep in a hydrotherapy tub, soothing his badly burned legs.  We talked with a young man receiving physical therapy for a shrapnel-shattered arm after two of his family members were killed and 12 injured, and we visited a beautiful new diagnostic center recently built with funds from USAID funneled through ANERA because only American institutions can receive such funding.

People taking shelter in the bombed shell of their homes.

People taking shelter in the bombed shell of their homes.

The building proved to be the metaphor for our entire visit:  we entered the state of the art structure for high tech diagnostics only to find it completely empty!  There is simply no money for the desperately needed bone density and CT scans, the MRI, the laboratory equipment, the mammography machines. In fact, Ahli struggles to buy fuel to keep the generator working for the many hours a day when there is no electricity and to purchase urgently needed medical supplies.

The building is a tribute to the faith and hope of the Ahli staff and its resourceful leadership even though it is an empty shell today. We were reminded of the Palestinian flags flying proudly on every collapsed building we saw; the fisherman tending their boats despite the fact that the risk their lives when they put to sea, likely to be confronted by an Israeli patrol; the palpable sense everywhere that the people of Gaza, despite the ongoing siege and the repeated assaults are determined to live. Some resist their oppression violently, unsurprising in the face of their reality, and some resist non-violently by refusing to lose hope in the future, as do the staff of Al Ahli. It is clear that the world has not responded to their cry for justice, but it is also clear that the people of Gaza, are “afflicted in every way, but are not crushed.” ( 2 Cor. 4:3)

The Rev. Robert Tobin and Maurine Tobin are residents of Deer Isle and long-term volunteers at Sabeel Ecumenical Theology Center and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  They have led 23 groups to see the facts on the ground and to meet with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim advocates for a just peace.

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Bishop Lane urges prayer and support for the Middle East

Dear Friends in Christ,

Here in Maine we are moving into deep summer. The temptation for all of us is to enjoy the sun and the breeze and to turn away from the painful pictures of war and devastation in Gaza and Iraq. The war between Israel and Hamas and the attack of ISIS on the Iraqi Christian community has caused thousands of deaths and created many thousands of refugees. For the sake of Christ’s work of peace and reconciliation, I invite you to take time to turn to God in prayer.

In concert with our Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, I ask your unceasing prayers for peace and justice for Jews and Palestinians and for the Christians of Iraq. I further ask you to consider a donation to the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza and St. George’s in Baghdad. (See links below.)

The solution to these crises is political and will require costly commitment on the part of all parties. The cessation of violence is only the first step, but it is necessary if anything more is to be done. We Christians worship a God who has come among us to reconcile us to one another. May our prayers for peace be part of this Sunday’s worship and every Sunday going forward.

+Stephen
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Bishop of Maine

* Both the Al Ahli Hospital (in 2012 and 2013) and St. George’s Church in Baghdad (in 2013) are recipients of the Diocese of Maine’s Millennium Develop Goals funding awarded each fall by Diocesan Council.

Updated links:

ENS – August 8: Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Iraq

Huffington Post – August 6: Vicar Of Baghdad’ Canon Andrew White Refuses To Leave Iraq, Despite Christian Persecution By ISIS

ENS – July 30: Urgent calls for peace in the land of the Holy One

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem – July 29 – Urgent Update

Two ways to give: American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem or Episcopal Relief & Development’s Middle East Fund

From the Anglican Communion News Service: “Emergency appeal made for Gaza hospital”

Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury on Gaza– July 30

Media summary on July 31 from the Foundation for Reconciliation and Relief in the Middle East – the nonprofit that assists St. George’s, Baghdad. The American arm of the FRRME is directed by David Greer, a parishioner of St. Giles’ in Jefferson, Maine. While its website is under construction, it is possible to make a donation at FRRME – America’s www.frrmeamerica.org. For more information, contact David at frrmeamerica@gmail.com or 207.624.2548.

Interview with Canon Andrew White of St. George’s, Baghdad in Christianity Today by The Times (UK) religion reporter, Ruth Gledhill on July 27: “They just go around and shoot the odd person dead: Vicar of Baghdad on ISIS.”

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Discerning next steps: International Mission Trips for Maine Youth

by the Rev. Ralph Moore, Rockland

Photo 3_0As our congregations try to keep up with the rapidly widening global awareness of our society, the concept of “mission” poses as one of our most exciting challenges. A former era’s understanding of mission is difficult to overcome. We sing hymns and sometimes interpret scriptures in a way that easily reinforces a traditional kind of “us” and “them” duality–that is, we who have much are called to help those who have little.

While there is some factual truth in such contrasts between situations among people living in poverty and those living with material advantage, a more profound reality still yearns to be discovered: the common humanity shared by all, within which all participants are equally learners and servants committed to a single faithfulness to truth and love.

One new mission resource calls this goal “transformational,” for “we need each other to fully comprehend God.” Therefore, just as the word “mission” is rooted in the ancient Latin notion of “sending” (like a missile), we are increasingly aware that each of us is called to be “sent” from where we are across many different boundaries where we are needed not as outside experts but as inside companions.

In this sense, right here in a small town in Maine the boundary to cross may be the threshold of a neighbor’s home wherein there may be a world as different from our own as there might be in a rural village in Latin America. As we ponder what it is to be “mission” for faithful Christians that enjoy the abundance of life in the United States, the possibilities are as numerous as they are scintillating.

On the evening of May 1 a significant and inspiring conversation about these challenges took place in our diocese.

Fourteen women and men, youth and older persons, engaged in a discernment meeting about international mission for teens. Many of us had been involved in one or more missions in the village of Jalonga, Dominican Republic, a relationship that has been nurtured for more than a decade. Others had served in mission in Haiti, Vietnam, India, Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Myanmar. The meeting quickly moved into reflections on past experiences in Jalonga and then into a process of discernment about the prospect of another group to be formed now to serve in Jalonga in 2015.

This opened up such questions as whether opportunities different from Jalonga ought to be considered in the more distant future. I feel that the most critical aspects of a contemporary theology of mission were carefully considered in the flow of this dialogue. Five of us had not been part of this program and were invited because we had experience as missionaries abroad. I know that we all felt at home and encouraged by the faithfulness and wisdom that emerged in this gathering.

Discernment it truly was, and I pray that we will all support the efforts of Jane Hartwell and the leadership group as they that continue this process in our diocesan ministry with young people. It is really the same dynamic that is needed to revitalize the service of our congregations in “mission.”

____

For more information about the youth international mission trip in 2015, please contact Canon Jane Hartwell at jhartwell@episcopalmaine.org.

 

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International Partnerships, continued: Maine 2 Mityana Mission

By the Rev. Chuck and Beth Bradshaw

The Bradshaws at Bishop Tucker Theological College (now part of Uganda Christian University) in Mukono, with Isaac, one of the young priests, a recent UCU graduate

The Bradshaws at Bishop Tucker Theological College (now part of Uganda Christian University) in Mukono, with Isaac, one of the young priests, a recent UCU graduate

“What’s the use?  Isn’t Africa a bottomless pit of need?”  By some measures, Uganda doesn’t seem to have come very far since independence 50 years ago.  But the Church of Uganda is leading the way in addressing the spiritual, educational, economic, and medical needs of Uganda’s growing population.

The Bishop of Mityana has invited the two of us to help him prepare a generation of Christian leaders to serve the growing Church of Uganda and build a better country.  Mityana is a market town in a rural district 50 miles west northwest of Kampala.  One and a half million people live within the Diocese, mostly subsistence farmers.  The work of lay readers, catechists, and evangelists in the 512 congregations is overseen by 85 priests.  Four hundred fifty of these congregations have schools attached.  Some also operate clinics.

The Diocese of Mityana operates the Bishop Lutaaya Theological College and Vocational Center.  The College currently trains men and women for ordained and lay leadership for the church.  It offers programs in counseling and training in child care.  The Bishop intends to expand course offerings to include entrepreneurship, building trades, and farming techniques.

Chuck will become the Principal of the College, teach Scripture and pastoral theology, provide direction for the expansion of the curriculum, counsel students, and establish international partnerships.  Beth will head the Music Department, help Chuck with the administration of the College, and teach English.

Why send people to teach theology, the Bible, and music, when the real need is for engineers, MBAs, doctors, and human rights lawyers?”  The Bishop of Mityana is convinced that the crises facing Uganda have theological roots.  Government corruption, poverty, disease, clean water, and sanitation must be understood as theological issues.  The encounter between Christianity and Islam, and the advance of secularism, are theological issues.

This mission is a partnership of the Church of Our Father, Hulls Cove; the Diocese of Mityana; the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS); and us (the Bradshaws).

How can interested congregations or individuals support our mission to Uganda?

  1. Pray. Sign up to receive monthly updates and prayer requests.  Let us pray for you.
  2. Invite us to talk to your congregation about the mission.
  3. Prayerfully consider making a 3-year pledge, as part of your personal stewardship.  (Pleas see our contact information below.)

With God’s help we will depart for Uganda sometime in September.  During our 3 years in Mityana, let us know you’re reading our emails (or letters) and praying for us; and at some point join us in Mityana for a short-term mission

We are grateful for the Bishop Lane’s endorsement and for the Maine congregations that have invited us to make deputation visits.  We thank God that at this point we have raised half of the necessary financial support, in donations and pledges.  We are praying that the pace of the fund-raising will accelerate. Please seek God’s guidance about whether he is calling you to partner with us in this endeavor.

For more information, contact us: beth.bradshaw4@gmail.com or phone (207) 288-4129.  View our page on the website of the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS-USA): samsusa.org/users/chuck-and-beth-bradshaw

The Rev. Chuck Bradshaw served as rector of Church of Our Father, Hulls Cove, from 1999 to 2012.

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More news from General Convention

As General Convention enters its second to the last day a great many resolutions must still pass through one or both houses. Many of the issues that captured the most attention and energy to this point has focused on

– Same-sex blessings
– the Anglican Covenant
– an omnibus resolution concerned with restructuring The Episcopal Church
– the 2013-2015 budget
– opening all aspects of church life, including the ordination process, to transgendered people
– The Episcopal Church’s response to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Here’s where we are on these issues:

Authorizing same-sex blessings –
Yesterday afternoon, the House of Deputies, after much discussion and parliamentary fussiness, concurred with the House of Bishops to pass A049, Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships. The resolution includes the provision for that honors “the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality, and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for the 77th General Convention’s action with regard to the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships.”

Read the Episcopal News Service story here.

The Anglican Covenant –
Yesterday, the House of Bishops concurred with the House of Deputies on B005 in declining to take a position on the Anglican Covenant while maintaining The Episcopal Church’s commitment to other members of the Anglican Communion worldwide.

Read the Episcopal News Service story here.

Re-structuring The Episcopal Church –

After considerable discussion in the House of Deputies yesterday morning, all present were stunned by the unanimous passage of C095, an omnibus resolution that proposes a plan for re-structuring The Episcopal Church. The resolution creates a special task force of up to 24 people who will gather ideas in the next two years from all levels of the church about possible reforms to its structures, governance and administration. Their work will culminate in a special gathering of people from every diocese to hear what recommendations the task force plans to make to the 78th General Convention. Its final report is due by November 2014.

Today the House of Bishops approved the resolution as well.

Read the Episcopal News Service story here.

The 2013-2015 Budget

Yesterday afternoon bishops gathered in the House of Deputies to hear the budget presentation from the Joint Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance. Our own Bishop Steve Lane, the vice chair of the committee, offered the budget with the chair, Deputy Diane Pollard of the Diocese of New York. The three-year $111.5 million budget is predicated on 19% asking from dioceses and used as its organizing principle the Five Marks of Mission.

Today members of the House of Deputies met in small groups to discuss the implications, including the reduction of 12 positions (or 10.7 FTE) from the Episcopal Church Center, some of which are currently vacant, before they set a time as a committee of the whole to raise issues of concern. Members of Program, Budget, and Finance then addressed questions raised. They will vote on the budget later today.

Read the Episcopal News Service story.

Transgendered people fully included in the life of the Church
On July 9, by approving D002 and D019 the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops that all aspects of life and ministry in The Episcopal Church should be open to people regardless of their gender identity or gender expression, including access to ordination.

Read the Episcopal News Service story.

Episcopal Church response to the Palestine/Israel Conflict
Earlier this week the House of Deputies passed both B019, which calls for the Church to make positive investment to assist with sustaining the Palestinian Territories and engaging in study and conversation among Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and C069, which calls for an more robust exercise of corporate social responsibility with regard to The Episcopal Church’s investment companies in that contribute to the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Yesterday the House of Bishops concurred overwhelmingly with B019 but chose to postpone consideration of C060 and a conversation about corporate engagement.

Read the Episcopal News Service Story.

For more visit Bishop Steve’s blog for his daily video reflections, The Daily Lap for interviews and news, and Mainers in Indianapolis for photos and Deputy of the Day postings and reflections.

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Mainers blessed by the Latin Experience

Dick Rasner is at left in the back row and Gail Chandler is at center in the bright green shirt.

The Rev. Gail Chandler, deacon at St. David’s, Kennebunk, and Dr. Richard Rasner, deacon in formation from St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, traveled with eight others to the Diocese of Dominican Republic in June.  Dick’s article about the trip is published in the latest edition of “diakoneo,” the newsletter of the Association for Episcopal Deacons.  They visited schools, churches and clinics and also worshiped with fellow deacons and learned about life and ministry in the diocese as they traveled across the country.

Dick writes:

We went with open minds and open hearts.  I think I speak for everyone in the group when I say that each of us returned home with minds and hearts overflowing with the joy, the love and the enthusiasm of our Dominican deacons as well as our Dominican brothers and sisters.

Download the newsletter to read Dick article as well as a post-script from Gail.

View a public photo album from the trip here.

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Support for Horn of Africa famine victims focuses on Somalian refugees in Kenya

From Episcopal Relief & Development:

The food shortage is the consequence of a sustained drought that is said to be the worst in more than 50 years. Reports indicate that over 800,000 people have fled Somalia as a result, many seeking refuge in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. In response to the developing crisis, Episcopal Relief & Development will be working through its network of Anglican and Episcopal partners to support the humanitarian work of local organizations such as Ukamba Christian Community Services in Kenya. Read it all.

Photo by USAID

Today the Archbishop of Canterbury issued an urgent appeal to members of the Anglican Communion to offer support. read more

2011 Horn of Africa Famine – wikipedia

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Update: Horrific news from South Sudan

UPDATE: Evidence of mass grave site near Episcopal Church in Sudan compound

Just last week, connecting through Boulis Kodi, a leader in Portland’s Sudanese community and a member of of Trinity Church, Portland, Bishop Lane spoke with Bishop Elnail by telephone to offer our prayers for the people in the Kordofan region.

Excerpt from Episcopal News Service:

Less than a week after South Sudan celebrated its long-awaited independence, Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli has said it is “devastating and saddening” to learn that his people of the South Kordofan region, “friends, brothers and sisters, children, my flock, have been killed mercilessly and are lying now in mass graves in Kadugli.”

Read it all here.

A nicely done audio slideshow from Matthew Davies of Episcopal News Service:

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